A Memorial Day Tribute to Hyrum Stutznegger
By Carl Clegg
This past May, on the 16th, to be exact, Hyrum Stutznegger would be turning 109 years old. Now that's pretty old. Had Hyrum died the year I was born, which was 1962, he would have lived to be 71, which is still a pretty good age to live to. Unfortunately, Hyrum Stutznegger was not so fortunate to live even to then.
Let me first tell you a little bit more about Hyrum Stutznegger. His father was John Stutznegger and he was born in Schwelbrunn, Appenzell, Switzerland on 23 Feb 1845. His mother, Kathrina Barbara Ramsauer, was born 10 Feb 1850 in Herisau, Appenzell, Switzerland. John and Kathrina had 13 children. Most of the older children were born in Switzerland. Hyrum was the youngest and was born after his family had immigrated to the United States, crossed the plains, and settled in Manti, Utah. He was born 16 May 1891.
Hyrum was a squirt, much smaller than other children his age. It wasn't until he was a teenager that he began to catch up to his peers in size. At the age of twelve he began to work on a ranch owned by Mr. Tuttle. He grew tall and slender and as he reached adulthood, became a well-built young man. He attended public school in Manti were he grew up.
Later as a young man he traveled to Blackfoot, Idaho and lived with his older brother Fred (who was about 15 years older than Hyrum and lived until 1963). There he found many friends who would always remember his kind and wonderful personality. He was a fine type of man: sober, industrious, honest, and upright, and good to all. His friends loved him. His family loved him. He loved and honored his father and mother most dearly. He was clean in his habits and language and greatly respected by all who knew him.
When World War I broke out, he was called to go overseas to join the battle and serve as an American soldier. He was drafted while living in Idaho in 1917 and sent to Camp Lewis in Washington where he trained for nine months. The following July he arrived in France in Company B 347th Machine Gun Battalion. He went through an extensive course of training at Camp Lewis and made a success of mastering the artillery. He could take apart a machine gun and put it back together again blindfolded -- it is told. In the middle of May he departed Camp Lewis and traveled with his company to Europe.
On the 27th of September (1918) his company was engaged in a fierce battle. They were on the firing line and two men were shot and killed that day. On the next day, the 28th, Hyrum was shot and killed. The report from the War Department reads as follows: "Three-quarters of a mile beyond Epinonville, France at 8 o'clock P.M., Sergeant Hyrum Stutznegger was instantly killed. He was lying on a side hill with a number of other men when a high explosive shell fell near. He was buried on the field and he was reported being hit in the head." Later his body was shipped home laid to rest in the Manti City Cemetery. A funeral service was held at the Manti Tabernacle.
So, who is Hyrum Stutznegger? His sister, Kathrine Barbara Stutznegger married Hyrum Denison in the same year that Hyrum was born in Manti, Utah. One of their daughters, Geneva Denison, is my paternal grandmother, born in 1904 also in Manti, Utah. She married Almon Giles Clegg from Heber City, Utah in 1928 and had a number of children including Almon Hyrum Clegg, my father. Hyrum Stutznegger, then, is my great-great-uncle. And if anyone asks "Where does 'Hyrum' come from in my father's name?" Now you know the rest of the story.
As we celebrate Memorial Day, may we all take a moment to reflect upon the life of Hyrum Stutznegger and the thousands of others who have laid down their lives so that we can enjoy the freedoms and liberties that make this country the greatest country in the world. May we salute and honor these heroes who have defended our land. And may we celebrate the unconquerable spirit of human courage, triumph, and victory.