Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Thursday, June 21, 2018

General Jack Pershing: War Booster Rooster

During World War I, auctions were held across Iowa to raise money for the Red Cross Nursing Corps. Mark Dunkerson of Fontanelle had nothing to offer except a spare rooster, and the farmer who bought him decided that he was too mean to take home. The other bidders found that hilarious, and the rooster was auctioned again and again, each time being returned to the auctioneer.

A Pre-Stuffed General Jack Pershing and
Auctioneer D. R. "Casey" Jones

By the end of the war "General Jack Pershing" (named in honor of America's top general) had crisscrossed the state and raised $40,000, and was allowed to live out his retirement unmolested. He was eventually stuffed and put on display in the Iowa State Historical Museum at 600 E. Locust St., Des Moines. His success inspired the more elaborate exploits of King Neptune the Pig in World War II.

In 2001, Jack Pershing was again put up for auction, this time to raise money for the Red Cross September 11th Disaster Relief Fund. His stuffed carcass brought in over $1,800, and was then returned to its glass case, more loved by Iowa than ever.