By Paul Fattig, BS ’79 (Journalism)
The True Tale of World War I Conscientious Objectors Alfred and Charlie Fattig and Their Oregon Wilderness Hideout
When Uncle Sam ordered Alfred and Charlie Fattig to answer the military draft during World War I, the brothers immediately grabbed their rifles. But not to march off to war. Conscientious objectors both, albeit lacking the formal education to fight induction, they retreated deep into southwest Oregon’s rugged mountains where they hid out for three years, feasting on everything from bear to squirrel. Their saga is one of survival in what is now the Kalmiopsis Wilderness, arguably one of the ruggedest areas in the contiguous United States.
Yet Madstone is more than a fascinating tale about two colorful draft dodgers a century ago. Southwest Oregon was a microcosm of rural America when the world was at war. Like most rural areas, the region was rife with young men eager to test their mettle in war. Patriotism was encouraged; pacifism was not.
During his more than 30 years of research for the book, the author interviewed numerous WWI veterans who talked about the war and life in the region. Readers will also meet an army of other characters, including a gungho young man who, while the brothers were in their mountain redoubt, would become celebrated as the first American soldier to fire a shot at the enemy during WWI.
Hellgate Press, April 2018