A wristwatch lost in a World War I poker game by a soldier in France will be returned to his family today. The watch—inscribed "W.B. Gill, Sioux City, IA, U.S.A."—wound up in the possession of Carl Grothaus of Bemis, South Dakota.
How he acquired it was one of the few war stories he shared with his inquisitive boys.
"It was part of the pot in a poker game," son Dewey Grothaus said, laughing that he had never seen his father gamble or even play cards. "That part he would talk about. I don't know if he knew Gill or if he served with him."
"He did try to look the guy up" after returning from the war, Grothaus said. During a trip to sell cattle at the Sioux City Stockyards, Carl Grothaus asked around about W.B. Gill, but found nothing. The watch returned to his dresser, where it sat until he died in 1991. [Link]