When World War I began in 1914, Ragnar Randau was a 27-year-old mason living in Crystal Lake. He and two of his brothers had immigrated to the United States from Sweden four years prior. Ragnar chose to enlist when the U.S. entered the Great War in 1917. He enrolled as a private at Camp Grant, Rockford. As a wagoner, Private Randau was part of the supply line that serviced the Allied Powers. Ragnar Randau died of meningitis in a U.S. military hospital in France on October 9, 1918, at the age of 31. His body was returned to Crystal Lake after the war and he was buried in Union Cemetery. Both of his brothers that had immigrated with him were eventually laid to rest by his side.
News of Ragnar’s death traveled slowly back to Crystal Lake. Letters from local soldiers were frequently reprinted in the hometown newspaper. One such letter mentioned Ragnar’s death a month after it occurred and a month prior to an official military confirmation. The story unfolds here.
This geocache was placed to share Ragnar’s story and allow cachers the opportunity to discover his seldom seen memorial. From the memorial follow the clue below to the cache. The log contains a code to unlock this pdf containing more information on this type of memorial.
Seventy right-steps to the west
Will march you to a shady glen.
See a stump with a circle impressed,
And spy a nearby branch so then
You’ll remember what your mother said
“That’s how I roll, young man”
As well as, “Don’t eat lead!”