Twin brothers from New Hampshire were simultaneously decorated with French and American crosses on December 17, 1918, in the only known instance of this occurrence. Ernest was decorated with the Distinguished Service Cross (American) while Ellsworth received the Croix de Guerre (French). They were the sons of Everett Hazen Runnells (and distant cousins of mine), and were born and raised in Concord New Hampshire.
**FAMILY TREE AND BIOGRAPHIES OF ERNEST & ELLSWORTH POTTER RUNNELLS**
Their father, Everett Hazen Runnells–Farmer and contractor, b. Concord NH on 7 June 1851, son of Deacon Hazen and Sarah E. (Corliss) Runnells; sixth in descent from Sergt. Samuel Runnels, of Bradford, MA, before 1710; fifth in descent from Lieut Samuel Runnells and fourth in descent from Lieut Samuel Runnells Jr. of Boxford MA, both of
whom served in the French and Indian Wars, 1755-56; grandson of Joseph Runnells, who served in the Revolution; educated at Concord schools; on year (1868) at Oberlin College, Ohio; Congregationalist; Republican; supervisor of check list Ward 4, several years; m. Oct. 20, 1880, Clara Frances Potter of East Concord, NH.. She was descended from Robert Potter, Lynn MA 1630, great-granddaughter of Richard Potter, who served in the Revolution under Gen. Sullivan, niece of Gen. Joseph H. Potter, U.S.A. (West Point 1843); children, (1) Clarence Everett, b. Dec 10, 1881; ed. Concord high school; employed by Lynn MA Electric R.R.; m. June 15, 1904 Katharine Isabel McClure, Maynard MA; their children, John Franklin, b. Jan 29, 1909; Maude Frances, Dec 14, 1915; (2) Maude Edith, b. Nov 10, 1886, d. Feb 12, 1897; (3) Morrill Potter, b. Jan 28, 1892; ed Concord schools; foreman in machine shops, U.S. Navy Yard, Portsmouth, NH; m. April 8, 1917, Blanche Evelyn Moran, Lowell, Mass; (4 and 5) twin sons, Ernest Potter and Ellsworth Potter, b. April 7, 1894 (see succeeding sketches). Residence, 6 Lyndon St., Concord NH
-ERNEST POTTER RUNNELLS-
Soldier, b. Concord NH Apr 7 1894, died 28 October 1954 in Alameda Co., California ; son of Everett Hazen & Clara Frances (Potter) Runnells (see preceding); ed Concord high school; employed National State Capital Bank; Episcopalian; Republican; entered the U.S. service, July 25, 1917; sailed for France, Oct. 3, 1917; in the Medical Corps of the 26th Division, later in the 101st Ambulance Corps; cited for bravery by Major-Gen C.R. Edwards in the second battle of the Marne, July 18-26, 1918 “for rescuing wounded comrades under heavy enemy fire”; cited by Major-Gen. C.R. Edwards for “exceptionally meritorious service and gallant conduct under a terrific enemy artillery bombardment,” Sept 25 and 26, 1918; decorated with Distinguished Service Cross, (American) Dec. 17, 1918. Residence, 6 Lyndon St., Concord NH. He married 5 May 1920 in Concord NH to Constance H. Trask and had at three children, Barbara C. Runnells, Patricia A. Runnells., and Ernest Potter Runnels Jr. He became an Episcopalian minister, and was rector of Episcopalian parishes in Oregon, California, New Hampshire, and the Canal Zone. His Oregon service included assignment at Roseburg from 1926 to 1929 and as a general missionary from 1929 to 1931. According to the Oregonian (Portland OR newspaper) of 31 October 1954, page 16, he “stopped at a roadstand to buy a dozen roses for his ailing wife Thursday night. Minutes later he was killed by a hit-run driver as he returned to his car.”
-ELLSWORTH POTTER RUNNELLS-
Soldier (twin brother to preceding), son of Everett Hazen and Clara Frances (Potter) Runnells, was b. Concord NH April 7, 1894, and died March 1969; He was educated in Concord (NH) schools; Episcopalian; Republican; member White Mountain Lodge, I.O.O.F.; employed in the People’s Market, 1912-17; entered the U.S. service July 25, 1917; sailed for France, Oct 3, 1917; in the 103d Machine Gun Battalion, 26th Division, 52d Brigade Co. B; decorated with the Croix de Guerre, Dec. 17, 1918, standing beside his twin brother who received the American Cross at the same time This is believed to be the only instance where twin brothers were simultaneously decorated with French and American crosses during the Great War. He m1) May 14, 1917 Amy Isabel Milton, Penacook NH. Residence, 6 Lyndon Street, Concord NH. They had one child, Everett P. Runnells Jr., who was born 30 December 1930 and died 1 January 1931, aged 2 days. He married 2nd) 30 Sept 1943 in Maine to Edith Jane Treloar. She was b. 27 March 1914 in Pembroke NH. They had 2 children: Everett Potter Runnells, who was born 4 November 1946 in Concord NH and died 27 August 1966 in Vietnam while serving in the U.S. Army, and Arlene Kay Runnells.
PS: My thanks to Arline Kay (Runnells) Devoid who helped me correct her family information.