It was the war to end all wars. And yet in four short, yet incredibly long years, over 16,560,000 would die and another 21,200,000 would be wounded. Men and boys, from towns and villages in France, Britain, Germany and America fought for their freedoms. Carl Frederick Brunotte was one of them.
“A century ago, an assassin, a Serbian nationalist, killed the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary as he visited Sarajevo. This act was the catalyst for a massive conflict that lasted four years. More than 65 million soldiers were mobilized by more than 30 nations, with battles taking place around the world. Industrialization brought modern weapons, machinery, and tactics to warfare, vastly increasing the killing power of armies. Battlefield conditions were horrific, typified by the chaotic, cratered hellscape of the Western Front, where soldiers in muddy trenches faced bullets, bombs, gas, bayonet charges, and more.” Alan Taylor, artist.
Born in California to German parents, Carl grew up in the warm climate of Southern California. He had at least 6 brothers and sisters, he being one of the youngest.
Carl grew up and later met Ida Jane Stotts. He was 30, and she was 25 years old.
Records indicate they had no children.
There is not a lot of records as to Carl’s role in WWI, but it is certain that he participated. In the Freemasons records of Mill Valley California, it says:
Mill Valley Lodge Veterans Members of Mill Valley Lodge No. 356, F & AM have not failed to answer our country’s call to arms in times of need. All members of Mill Valley Lodge No. 356 are proud of the service that these brothers rendered on behalf of our nation. These Honor Rolls are offered to the community so that our neighbors in Mill Valley and our greater world community can also learn and remember what the members of Mill Valley Lodge No. 356 will not forget. Honor Roll of Brethren who Served in World War I September 22, A.L. 5919 (1919) at a Special Meeting, the Lodge was opened on the Third Degree of Masonry for the purpose of dedicating a bronze tablet to the members of this Lodge who served their country in the Army or Navy during the war of 1917-1918.
The Secretary read the names of the forty-two members who had lately been in the Country’s service during the World War as follows: Bro…. Robert William BarrDorrence Beck Robert Belshaw Grover Cleveland Boyd Carl F. Brunotte Frederick Alexander Burden James Andrew Carlile Franklyn Broughton Conroy Matthew Demmer John Franklin Ellis Adolph Gustof Falk Richard Marion Finn George Newton Folker, Jr. Herbert Penn Folker Henry Guth Homer Byron Hyde Robert Jacob, Jr. Harold Sidney Johnson Olin Ransellar Kelsey Melvin Harvey Klyce Julius Kover Lee Lawrence Lane Ralph Lee Lockwood Ivar Wilhelm Lundqvist George Robert Mantlo Ross Reed McLeod Charles John McQuillan Lester Theodore Olmstead Roy E. Patterson Nathan Podhoretz Fred. Alfred Roemer John Nelson Ross James George Saxton, Jr. Albert Victor Shaw Zenas Abner Sherwin Francis Joseph Sommer Oscar Park Stowe Clarence Wilber Thomas Lon Mack Turpin Lionel Wachs Jesse Warren WagnerRoy Culver Ward By order of the Worshipful Master, F.A. Burden, the Flag of our Country was escorted to the East with appropriate ceremonies, them members present singing the Star Spangled Banner. The Service Flag was then retired by Past Master Harvey A. Klyce. Bro. A.J. Treat 33° then delivered the dedication oration, which was followed by instrumental and vocal selections.
He is also listed as a Sergeant in the US Army between 1917-1918. He was 48 years old.
From what I researched Freemasons believe in three things:
Brotherly love: Love for each other and for all mankind
Relief: Charity for others and mutual aid for fellow Masons
Truth: The search for answers to the universal questions of morality and the salvation of the soul that only a man’s individual faith and his relationship with God can provide. Some Freemasons are Christian, some are Jewish, because it is not actually an organized religion, but more of a fraternity. There are no clergy, rather every man is their own thinker. Masonry initially began as a guild for stone masons who built the castles and cathedrals of Medieval Europe.
In WWI, Carl fought in a war that is still remembered 100 years later. Although we do not have exact record of his duties, it must have been challenging to leave his wife, and serve for a country who was fighting against his parent’s homeland. On top of the emotional trauma of war, many German-Americans faced heavy Anti-German sentiment back home. “Any German-Americans thought to have shown support or sympathy for Germany ran the risk of being named in newspapers as disloyal and, at times, risked physical harm.” (WWI Anti-German Sentiment).
Many Americans know a lot about WWII because it is constantly glamorized on TV and in books and movies, but don’t know as much about WWI. It was a gruesome war was death, disease and trauma on all sides.
Although there were many casualties in the war, Carl was not one of them.
He returned home and lived to be 68 years old. He passed away 06, April 1939. His wife Ida passed away in San Francisco four years before him on January 22, 1935. They are both buried in the Woodland Cemetery in California. I am so grateful for his life and service to our country.