Cayuga County Records
Its boundaries spanning from the shore of Lake Ontario to farmlands nestled in the heart of the Finger Lakes, Cayuga County was, and still is, largely agricultural. In 1917, the county was mainly comprised of relatively self-sufficient towns, villages and hamlets, while its county seat, Auburn, was a vibrant manufacturing hub, supported by a diverse labor market.
Of the 1440 men who served in World War I from Cayuga County, 135 perished in the line of duty, whether from injuries, accidents, or disease. They were the sons of recent immigrants, scions of century-old farms, husbands and fathers who left behind new families and infant children. The great-grandson of William Seward, former Governor of New York State, did not make it home, nor did the only son of a Polish immigrant mother, who learned of his death while on her factory shift.
For the 1000+ who made it back, who survived horrific trench warfare, the threat of gas attacks, overcrowded hospitals and raging influenza, they became the blue collar laborers and white collar entrepreneurs who helped build a modern, 20th century society – and who might well have hoped that the new world they had fought for would escape the horrors of war that they had endured.