New Hampshire WWI Military: Private Percy Ashley of Dorchester

WWI era postcard of the Hospital at Fort
Slocum, NY.

The United States declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917 and joined the allies in the World War (now called World War I). A few weeks later Percy Ashley would be dead of lobar pneumonia. This was several months before the first incidents of the so-called “Spanish Flu” were reported and his death seems unconnected to that pandemic. He was either the first, or one of the first New Hampshire men to die in service. Continue reading

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New Hampshire WWI Military: Heroes of Colebrook

The Legion Lot on Bridge Street, Colebrook NH
showing the memorials to veterans of all wars.

The World War I monument commemorating all who served in the military can be found on the town green, called the Legion Lot, near 8 Bridge Street in Colebrook, New Hampshire. The memorial plaque in bronze was affixed to a polished, granite block and dedicated in 1922.

The town was well represented, and in June of 1918 the New Hampshire State historian reported that 3-4% of the town’s population was in service. The Colebrook Public Library has a list of all those from Colebrook who served. I am grateful to them for speaking with me about the monument. My focus is on the six known local men who died while in service.

Continue reading

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New Hampshire WWI Military: Private 1C Thomas H. Abbott of Concord

WWI plaque and monument for
Concord’s WWI heroes at Memorial
Field. Photograph Elizabeth Mace,
used with permission.

Thomas Harold Whitcomb Abbott was born 13 July 1896 in Concord NH, the son of Francis U. & Alice A. (Toof) Abbott. He grew up in Concord attending the local schools. In 1900 and 1910 censuses he can be found living in Concord NH with his parents and siblings: Helen, Joseph Arthur, Mark F., Francesca and George F. Continue reading

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Samuel Joy and His Spite Tombstone in Durham New Hampshire

Joy Family Burial Ground
Packer’s Falls Road,.
Durham, New Hampshire.

I have to admit–I hesitated to write this story.  We probably will never know the entire truth behind Samuel Joy’s “spite” tombstone, and that bothers me.

If a spite tombstone is new to you, know it is a cemetery monument placed to annoy, hurt or offend someone still living, or to make an eternal statement.  Usually the grievousness takes the form of the words carved into the stone, as it does in this case.   You don’t see many of these revenge markers as public cemeteries often have rules against allowing such monuments to be placed.

The Samuel Joy spite tombstone is unusual but it’s not the only one in New Hampshire.  A very different spite stone was placed on Caroline Cutter’s grave in Milford, New Hampshire in 1838. Her husband, Dr. Calvin Cutter had it carved as his way of censuring a local church. Perhaps there are other grievances carved in New Hampshire stone, but I leave it to my readers to let me know about them. Continue reading

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New Hampshire WWI Military: Heroes of Lancaster

Photograph of Lancaster NH’s B&M Railroad
Station circa 1914, from Granite State Monthly,
Vol XLVI, No. 9-10, Sept-Oct 1914, page 1.

Lancaster, Coös County, New Hampshire is a small town in the northern part of the state. During World War I Lancaster had around 3,000 people, only 500 less than they have today. After WWI (in 1920) the population had dwindled to 2,819 people. The book, “Two Hundred Years, A Bicentennial Sketchbook 1764- 1964,” states: “…when President Wilson proclaimed a state of emergency in April 1917, the town responded quickly. A committee of Public Safety was formed, the school yard was plowed and planted to vegetables, and the relief work which had already been undertaken was stepped up.” Continue reading

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