Dollar Bank Depositors in the First World War
In 1918, the headlines of Pittsburgh's three major newspapers, the Gazette-Times
, the Press
and the Post
, were focused on the war in Europe, which the United States had entered the year before.
Dollar Bank depositors Michael Kreichunas, Jacob Meyers, Thomas E.H. Robison and Michael M. Wolfe were all serving in the armed forces when they opened their Dollar Bank savings accounts in 1918.
Kreichunas, a Lithuanian immigrant who arrived in the United States in 1912, was a baker at Nicholas Bakery on Penn Avenue when he was drafted. He served as a cook at Camp Lee, Virginia. While in Pittsburgh, he lived on Sarah Street on the South Side. After the war, he applied for American citizenship, moved to Chicago and became a carpenter.
Berg Street, South Side resident Jacob Meyers was a private in Company A, 103rd Military Police, 28th Division (Pennsylvania National Guard), Allied Expeditionary Force. He opened his account by mail in October 1918, unable to visit Dollar Bank in person because he was deployed overseas at the time, where his unit was part of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive.
Thomas Robison was a sailor aboard the battleship USS Vermont
, based at Hampton Roads, Virginia. Robison stayed in the Navy through April 1919, spending his last three months aboard the Vermont
helping convey American troops home from Europe. After returning to civilian life, Robison became a movie theater projectionist in McKeesport.
Raised in New Kensington, Michael M. Wolfe received his medical degree at Temple University. He served as a medical officer in the Army in WWI. His duty took him to military bases throughout the eastern U.S. After the war, he returned to Philadelphia, where he spent more than 30 years in a successful career as a surgeon.
As the casualty lists in the newspapers of that time attested, a number of Pittsburgh men who served in the war did not return home. One of these was USMC Sgt. Raymond Paul Cronin. Born in 1893, he served four years in the United States Marines and returned to civilian life as a letter carrier. He opened a savings account at Dollar Bank in September 1916.
When the United States entered the war in April 1917, Cronin re-enlisted in the Marine Corps. He was deployed overseas in June 1917 and promoted to the rank of sergeant in February 1918. In June 1918, Cronin was with the 5th Marine Regiment when they were engaged in fierce combat around Chateau-Thierry, France. Sgt. Cronin was killed in action on June 6, 1918 while trying to establish liaison with an adjoining French unit under heavy machine gun fire.
After his death, V.F.W. Post No. 267 here in Pittsburgh was named in his honor. When his name was inscribed on a bronze plaque along with those of other Pittsburgh post office employees who served in the war, Cronin's sister Helen unveiled the tablet. In September 1921, his remains were returned from France, and a memorial mass was held at Church of the Resurrection in Brookline. He was buried in St. Mary's Roman Catholic Cemetery in Lawrenceville.