Albion 7th graders dedicate panel to Sheret family at former Legion site

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 May 2022 at 11:03 am

Photos by Tom Rivers: This group of seventh-graders and their teacher Tim Archer dedicated this interpretive panel on Friday at Central Hall on East Park Street. The building, currently used by the county treasurer’s office and historian, used to be the Sheret American Legion Post. The post is now located on Gaines Basin Road at the former Pap Pap’s Par 3 golf course. Pictured from left, going up and then back down, include: Wesley LeFrois, Lily Brigham, Maylie Fisher, Anna Grillo, Jillian LeBaron, Tim Archer, Julianna Newbould and Mackenzie LeFrois.

ALBION – An interpretive panel was dedicated on Friday for the Sheret family, where brothers Sgt. James Sheret and Pvt. Egbert Sheret were killed in action on the same day, Sept. 29, 1918.

The two fought in World War I and were killed on the Hindenberg Line. They were in the 108th Infantry, the only men to break the Hindenburg Line that day.

James Sheret led a charge on German defenses at the Hindenburg Line and was slain after killing German soldiers in two hostile posts with his revolver, and then attacking the enemy in a machine gun nest. Sheret was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the Army’s second highest military decoration for soldiers who display extraordinary heroism in combat with an armed enemy force.

His brother Egbert was a machine gunner.

Another brother, Andrew, was the company’s bugler and was severely wounded during the engagement. A fourth brother, John G., served in the Navy and survived the war.

The Honor Guard gave a gun salute at the close of Friday’s ceremony at Central Hall.

The building was a school from 1882 to 1934, and then was the home of the Sheret American Legion Post from 1935 to 1980. The post then moved down South Main Street at what is now the Main Street Store before moving to the former clubhouse of a par 3 golf course on Gaines Basin Road.

Lily Brigham, a seventh-grader, sings “America the Beautiful.”

County Legislator Don Allport spoke at the ceremony and thanked the students for highlighting the sacrifices of the Sheret family.

“Freedom isn’t free,” he said. “We need to make sacrifices so some day down the road they will look back at say thank you to us, too.”

County Historian Catherine Cooper said the Sheret brothers are heroes, and their parents and family also should be acknowledged for persevering despite their broken hearts.

The family lived on West Park Street and attended the First Presbyterian Church.

The Sheret brothers – James and Egbert – and their family were ordinary people leading ordinary lives, without capes or superpowers, “who found themselves put to the test in extreme circumstances,” Cooper said.

She said the Legion posts in Orleans County bear the names of heroes: Butts-Clark in Medina, Jewell Buckman in Holley, Houseman-Tanner in Lyndonville and Sheret in Albion.

“The thing about heroic actions is that they are elicited suddenly, without warning,” Cooper said. “There’s no time to stand back to analyze the pros and cons of an action when the enemy is upon you or the house is burning. The innate ability to react in a heroic manner must already exist, be a part of a person’s character. James did not hesitate when he came upon the enemy.”

Ron Ayrault, a local veteran and member of the Honor Guard, recalled seeing the citations and displays at the building when it was a Legion Post. Ayrault, 90, said he would visit with many of the veterans who would spend time in the building. He said the community had a lot of fun in the building at dances and dinners.

“I have so many happy memories of this place in the 1940s,” he said.

Ann Jacobs, regent with the Orleans County chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, said the DAR was grateful to be part of the project honoring the Sheret family. The DAR provided some of the funding for the panel.

Before the service, the students cleaned the gravestones at the Sheret family plot at Mount Albion Cemetery.