Allen Kramer Gabler

The following profile was researched and compiled by Candice L. Buchanan and Glenn J. R. T. Toothman III, for

Birth: 8 July 1890 Greensboro, Monongahela Township, Greene County, Pennsylvania

Parents: Benjamin Franklin Gabler & Mary Main

Residence at time of enlistment: Greensboro, Monongahela Township, Greene County, Pennsylvania

Physical description: 5 feet 9 inches tall, medium build, florid complexion, blue eyes, dark brown hair

Death: Wounded in action, 7 September 1918 (mustard gas inhalation) Vesle River, France. Died from wounds, 18 September 1918 Base Hospital #5, France.

Age at death: 28 years old

Last resting place: 11 September 1921 Monongahela Hill Cemetery, Monongahela Township, Greene County, Pennsylvania

Military rank: Serial No. 1241379. Corporal. Company K, 110th Infantry, 28th Division.

Additional information:

As a member of Company K, Allen Gabler fought alongside about 150 fellow Greene County boys and their comrades, in the brutal Rain Day battle, which began in full force 29 July 1918, and ultimately claimed the lives of 18 of those hometown heroes. Gabler was "slightly gassed" that day, marking his first serious encounter with the weapon that would take his life, but he recovered from that attack and soldiered on with his Company.

It was on 7 September 1918, while fighting along the Vesle River that, as his Lieutenant E. R. Fondy wrote home to his father, "[Corporal Gabler] with several others of the company were slightly gassed, but he paid no attention to this and refused to be sent to the rear. A short time before his death, the last time I saw him alive, he volunteered to act as a runner and carry a message through machine gun and sniper fire to Battalion headquarters and upon arrival there was sent to the rear by our physician. I received no further word until notified by the hospital authorities of his death."

The expression of sympathy and condolences sent to the family was unique in the case of Allen Gabler, because he was not only a son and brother, but also a husband and a father. His wife, Mary Magdeline (Orndoff) Gabler, never remarried after his death. A young, grieving widow, she left Greensboro, Pennsylvania, with their two small children, Paul Orndoff Gabler (born 1914) and Pauline Rose Gabler (born 1912), and went to Kansas, where her own family was settled, and where the Gablers then lived out much of their lives.

Correspondence from the battlefields, like Lieutenant Fondy's letter, provided Allen's widow and parents with details about his service and death. The letters were clearly intended to comfort, but inevitably bear details of one of the Great War's worst ways to die. Gabler was gassed 7 September 1918, and arrived at Base Hospital No. 5 on 9 September 1918. There he remained until his death on 18 September 1918. The following account was written to his wife just a few days after his passing by an American Red Cross attendant at the hospital:

"My dear Mrs. Gabler:

I write to tell you of the deep sympathy of the American Red Cross in France in the death of your husband, Corporal Allen K. Gabler, Co K, 110th Inft. He came to this hospital Sept. 9, and died Sept. 18, 1918, from gas inhalation. Everything the doctors and nurses could do was in vain. I called at the bedside of your husband several times during his stay at the hospital, but he was unable to talk, just whispered an occasional word or two, I suggested writing to you for him, but he felt you would be too much worried at receiving a letter from someone else and asked me to wait a few days when he would be better and he would write. It is my task to write the sad news of his death.
The services at the hospital were conducted by Chaplain Allen, of the American Red Cross, under a locust tree amid the most picturesque surroundings; his coffin was draped with an American flag, which honor is won by every American soldier who pays the supreme sacrifice upon the altar of patriotism. A number of his comrades were present and escorted the body to its last resting place, where he takes his well earned repose under the most glorious epitaph that can fall to a soldier. Your husband has done his long drill and has been called "dismissed." Yes "Taps" for him have sounded and he is resting calm and free. After awhile he will waken to stand God's reveille.
There is a cross placed at the head of his grave bearing his name and date of death. After the war is over you will be advised of the exact location where your husband is buried; at present we are not permitted to mention any certain place in France. Surely it must be a great comfort to realize that your husband has served a great cause and given all for his country. I am at the hospital representing the Home Communication Service of the American Red Cross, rendering service to the brave sons of America, and helping to fill, as it were, that missing link between the home and the battlefield.
I am sending you a few flowers taken from a bouquet which I placed on his casket in your behalf, also a piece of ribbon with which they were tied and a lock of his hair. In the American Red Cross please remember always that you have a friend who appreciates this great loss of yours and sympathizes with you as only one can who is here in daily attendance at the bedside of the boys as they return from the battlefield.
With renewed assurance of my sympathy, I am
Very sincerely yours,
Emily A. Patterson
Home Communications Service
American Red Cross"

Lieutenant Fred R. Cleavenger, of Company K, wrote in a more candid manner to a friend in Mapletown, "Poor Gabler had to suffer a great deal before he died, as the effects of mustard gas are terrible, but he died a hero, a man, the death of a true American soldier, and thank God that our great country can produce men such as he, willing to die if need be for flag, for humanity, for justice."


  • Association of the 110th Infantry, History of the 110th Infantry (10th Pa.) of the 28th Division, U.S.A., 1917-1919: a compilation of orders, citations, maps, records and illustrations relating to the 3rd Pa. Inf., 10th Pa. Inf., and 110th U.S. Inf (Greensburg, Pennsylvania: Association of the 110th Infantry, 1920), 84.

  • “Graphic Description of Battle” article, Waynesburg Republican, Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, 2 January 1919, page 1, columns 7-8. Article contains complete letter written by Lieutenant Fred Cleavenger.

  • "Greensboro Soldier Laid to Rest with Full Military Honors" article, Waynesburg Republican, Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, 15 September 1921.

  • "Letters Concerning Death of Corp. Allen K. Gabler" article, Waynesburg Republican, Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, 23 January 1919.

  • Monongahela Hill Cemetery (Monongahela Township, Greene County, Pennsylvania; southeast of the intersection of Routes 88 and 266, between Mapletown and Greensboro), Allen K. Gabler tombstone; personally read and photographed by Candice Buchanan and Glenn Toothman, 2018.

  • "PA National Guard Veterans' Card File, 1867-1921," digital images, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC), Pennsylvania State Archives Records Information Access System ( viewed 30 May 2018), Allen K. Gabler, Private, Co K, 10th Inf., P. N. G.; citing series #19.135.

  • "United States, Army Transport Service Passenger Lists 1910-1939," digital images, ( : accessed 30 May 2018), Allan K. Gabler entry, line 206, page 36 (stamped), Ausonia, box 373; citing Lists of Outgoing Passengers, 1917-1938. Textual records. 255 Boxes. NAI: 6234477. Record Group Title: Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, 1774-1985. Record Group Number 92. National Archives, College Park, Maryland.

  • "United States, World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918," digital images, ( : accessed 30 May 2018), Allen Kramer Gabler draft card, serial no. 1141, Local Draft Board, Monongahela Township, Greene County, Pennsylvania; citing National Archives microfilm publication M1509, FHL roll 1892939.

  • "WWI Veterans Service and Compensation Files, 1917-1919, 1934-1948," digital images, ( : accessed 30 May 2018), Mary Magdeline Gabler, wife of Allen Kramer Gabler - application no. 312720; citing World War I Veterans Service and Compensation File, 1934–1948 (RG 19, Series 19.91), Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC), Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.