John Jurgen Dykman was born on 16 March 1895 in a sod house in Nebraska to Henry K and Helena Dykman. In October of that same year, the family traveled by covered wagon to Missouri and settled near Mulberry in Bates County.
John attended the Mulberry school and then Amoret High School where he played on the basketball team. Since Amoret didn’t have a four- year high school, John attended Butler High School his senior year. He records in his diary;
“Be it resolved on this 19 Day of June in the yr. of Our Lord Nineteen Sixteen That I (John Dykman) having completed a three yr. High School course will go on to school another yr. and complete the High School if Health and good luck allow me to, with God’s help. J.J. Dykman“.
While in Butler, John boarded and worked at the Cottage Hotel. True to his word, he became a graduate of Butler High School on 17 May 1917. The following Monday he went to work at the Amoret Bank as a teller.
On 2 March 1918 John records in his diary;
“But in the spring of 1917 I had to register the 5 day of May and my order no. was 193. This putting me in the first draft. The first boys leaving in the fall but I got off until Feb. 4, 1918 when I have to report for duty at Butler, Mo. at 3 o’clock PM”.
John left Bates County for the Officer’s Training Camp at Camp Funston located at Fort Riley Kansas.
On 11 March 1918 a cook at Camp Funston by the name of Albert Gitchell reported for sick call with complaints of a headache, sore throat, cough and high fever. By noon that day 107 other men reported the same symptoms. Thus, what would become known as the Spanish Flu Epidemic had begun. The epidemic would go on to kill an estimated 20-50 million people worldwide.
On 26 March 1918 it would claim John Jurgen Dykman, making him one of Bates County’s first casualties of World War I.