Doughboy History

Purchasing the Statue
The local posts of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and the American Legion, along with local veterans and enlisted personnel, joined together in 1923 to raise funds to purchase a "Spirit of the American Doughboy" statue as a memorial to local boys who died in World War I. More than $1,400 was raised and the bronze statue was ordered.
The Spirit of the American Doughboy statue between 2 American flags
Late Arrival
Scheduled to arrive in Henryetta for the Armistice celebration on November 11, 1923, it did not arrive until November 26, 1923.

Placing the Statue
The decision was made to put the statue in the middle of the 4th and Main intersection and plans began to build a suitable base on which to display the Doughboy.

Unveiling the Statue
The bronze statue was finally in place and unveiled in a public celebration on Saturday, July 4, 1925. A large parade led the crowd to the 4th and Main location. The Honorary Barclay Morgan and George Riley Hall made speeches. VFW Post Commander Harry Reingold supervised the unveiling of the statue by Mrs. George Cullen, whose son died in the war. The celebration was completed by a mock battle on the hill north of town.

Relocating the Doughboy
The Doughboy proudly stood guard in the center of the 4th and Main intersection until 1970. In 1969 the City Council approved moving the statue to the corner of 6th and Main Streets where it would stand on the corner of the Public Library property after a suitable base was constructed.

Plaque Inscription
A bronze plaque was added to the base of the statue in 1991 with the following inscription:
"The American Doughboy represents the American soldier of World War I. He is charging over the top toward the enemy line. Carrying full field equipment he was erected as a memorial to the war veterans, 'By the people.' He arrived in Henryetta on Monday, November 26, 1923."

Memorial Plate
The memorial plate bears the following inscription:
"To the memory of all in this area who paid the supreme sacrifice in all wars. Was cast, 'By the people, the year of 1991'." You can see a full list of names found on the Doughboy plaque (PDF).

Repairing the Doughboy
Recently, many have noticed that our proud Doughboy's rifle was bent and he was becoming somewhat weather worn. In 1998, Jimmy Williams, owner of Jiffy Mart, received a $500 community service award from Wal-Mart and decided that this amount should be given to restore and repair the Doughboy. Other organizations and individuals also contributed throughout 1998 - 1999. The Bronze Horse in Pawhuska, owned and operated by Mr. John Free, visited and gave a quote of $850 to restore our proud sentinel. His son, Mr. John Free, Jr., took the Doughboy to Pawhuska in October 1999. Arrangements were made with Mr. Free to return the Doughboy on November 10, 1999, 1 day before Veteran’s Day. Roger Holmes with the City Parks Department and his crew cleaned the bronze plaque.

Welcome Back Celebration
The local VFW, American Legion, Chamber of Commerce and public library planned the celebration to welcome him home! Participants included the VFW Chaplain, Lois Rodriquez, Mickey Dombeck, Mayor of Henryetta, the VFW color guard and the VFW, which performed a 21-gun salute.

The Doughboy again stands proudly honoring those from Henryetta who died in 4 wars.