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Jersey County Journal
Memorial Day is a time of reflection all across our nation. We stop to remember the sacrifices of those who’ve served and died in the service of our nation. Jersey County is home to many heroes who have given their lives, from the civil war to ones of recent, Jersey County has answered the call. Jerseyville was home to one man who answered it in 1917, and he was a man who didn’t have to. That man was Larry Chappell. Chappell was born in McClusky in February 1890. Chappell had a promising career in sports, specifically in baseball. The wide-eyed young man traveled the country in the minor leagues and saw a world much bigger than his tiny home county. Chappell was called up to the majors in 1913 with the White Sox. During his four-year stint in the majors, he would play for the Cleveland Indians and Boston Braves.
By all accounts, Chappell was an average player but not bad by any means. However, when World War 1 broke out in 1917, the question for Chappell wasn’t about his hitting numbers but whether or not he would serve his country. Chappell, filled with a desire for service, joined the U.S. Army medical corps in 1918 at the peak of his career. Chappell served at Letterman General Hospital in San Francisco, treating those who were sick or wounded from combat. But three months after joining the Army, Chappell contracted influenza in October 1918 and became gravely ill.
After a short fight with the virus, Chapell passed away on Nov 8, 1918. Three days before the war’s end. Chapell was one of eight professional baseball players to die as a result of World War 1. And one of of over 110,000 U.S servicemen to die as a result of the war and pandemic. Chappell was returned home to Jersey County and was buried at Oak Grove Cemetery. Chappell’s story may not be filled with riveting heroism or the thunderous stories of combat, but it is filled with the story of an ordinary man with extraordinary talents who put them aside to serve his country. Like millions before him and after him, Chappell just wanted to do his part the best he could. And that he did.