Great-granddaughter visits ancestor's hometown

Willoughby, OH

The City of Willoughby was first settled in 1798 by David Abbott near the mouth of the Chagrin River at Lake Erie.
In 1835, the village was permanently named "Willoughby" in honor of Dr. Westel Willoughby Jr., a prominent physician who the founders of a short-lived medical college hoped to attract to the village. Many historical buildings from this period survive to this date, affording the downtown Willoughby area some outstanding specimens of 19th-century architecture.
In World War I, the U.S. Army chose Willoughby as the site for a chemical weapons plant producing lewisite.
During this time a young man named Carl W. Roberts heard the calling to serve his country like many young men of that day did.
Pvt. Roberts entered the Ohio Army National Guard on May 7, 1917. He was assigned to Company M 1-145th Infantry out of Painesville, Ohio. He quickly made rank to SGT in August 1917.
On Sept. 12, 1917, Roberts married Gladys Marguerite Lynn. Carl's unit was shortly deployed to the European Theater. While serving in Europe Carl received three Purple Hearts. On Nov. 4, 1918, while in Belgium at the Meuse-Argone Offensive, he was killed in action and is buried in Flanders Field, Belgium.
On Dec. 8, 1918, Carl and Gladys's daughter, Mildred E. Roberts, was born.
In 2014, Carl's grave was assigned to a caregiver named Geert De Backer, a Belgian national. His duties were explained in his own words: "As from now, it's my duty to look after him (put beautiful flowers on Memorial Day, Nov. 11, etc." Geert was able to do some background history on Carl, but was having a hard time finding all the information. Geert was able to track down information about Post 214 Palmer-Roberts. From there the two parties emailed back and forth, and Geert was able to find information to contact Jennifer Peeters, the great-granddaughter of Carl W. Roberts.
On July 12-16, 2016, Jennifer and her husband Jean-Pol Peeters visited in Willoughby, Ohio, at Post 214. On July 12, the mayor of Willoughby, David E. Anderson, presented Jennifer with a proclamation in honor of Carl W. Roberts. The next day, soldiers from Headquarters Company 1-145th Infantry presented her with her great-grandfather's 48-star American flag, with Taps playing in the background. Jennifer and her husband Jean-Pol enjoyed their time in Willoughby and the Cleveland area. For more information about this article, go to Facebook page

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