War fever swept Madera in the spring and summer of 1917. America had entered World War I, and the local boys were not going to shirk their duty, least of all Herbert Macon. He was the oldest son of Horace Macon, Madera County Tax Collector, and in August 1917, he was drafted into the army.
Herbert was one of 54 men from Madera County who was first accepted for the draft and one of the first six to actually report for duty. It was reported that those half dozen Maderans were “anxious to leave for mobilization,” as they arrived to be sworn in on Sept. 8.
Little did Herbert Macon know when he raised his hand to take the oath that day that he had less than a year to live.
The local draft board put William Forrester, one of the draftees from Fairmead, in charge of the six-man squad, and they spent the afternoon being instructed on how to proceed to Camp Lewis, Wash., for training before being shipped to the front. Then they all returned home to get ready for the big shindig at the Yosemite Hotel restaurant that night...