Many Manchesterites are aware of the William M. Jutras Post #43, an American Legion
Post that has been around since 1919. But not many outside of that organization can tell you much about the man the post is named after. In addition, at the location where the Jutras Post building originally sat (228 McGregor Street), a plaque can be found in McGregor Park in the northwest corner of Amory and McGregor Streets. That plaque reads: “LT. WILLIAM H. JUTRAS. CO. A 103rd INF. 26th. DIV. KILLED IN ACTION SEPT 26 1918 AT RIAVILLE. FRANCE. AGE 26.
Perhaps the best way to know, is to read the the original commendation, that describes his heroic action for which he was awarded (posthumously) the Distinguished Service Cross:
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pride in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross (Posthumously) to First Lieutenant (Infantry) William M. Jutras, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in action while serving with 103d Infantry Regiment, 26th Division, A.E.F., near Riaville, France, 26 September 1918. When the platoon on the right flank of his company was threatened by an enfilading movement of enemy machine guns, Lieutenant Jutras carried a message to the commander of that platoon through deadly machine gun and minenwerfer bombardment. It then being necessary to establish liaison with the company on the right in order to save this platoon from annihilation, and knowing that he faced almost certain death, this gallant officer unhesitatingly volunteered for this mission and crossed a terrain swept by converging machine gun fire. Mortally wounded, he delivered his message in time to save his platoon.
General Orders: War Department, General Orders No. 142 (1918)
Action Date: 26-Sep-18
Rank: First Lieutenant
Regiment: 103d Infantry Regiment
Division: 26th Division, American Expeditionary Forces [Co. A]
William Hilair Jutras, son of Alfred & Mattie/Martha (Barbeau) Jutras was born 19 September 1891 in Peterborough, Hillsborough Co. NH. By 1900 the Jutras family had moved, and were living in Manchester NH at 377 Carter Street. William’s father was a roofer by trade (as was his own grandfather). William probably attended the local schools, and then began working in a local grocery.
In June 1917 at time of his military registration for World War I, he indicated he had formerly been a shoe worker at J.M. Hoyt Co. This form shows William’s birth year as 1890, and that he had been serving already for 8 years. This leads me to believe that when he originally enlisted in New Hampshire’s National Guard’s 1st NH Infantry [about 1909] he probably indicated on paperwork that he was a year older in order, as he was underage.
For the Mexican border crisis of 1916, New Hampshire deployed one infantry regiment (1st NH Regiment, Company A) to Laredo, Texas, and William M. Jutras was with them. 58,664 Guardsmen had been mobilized from every state (except Nevada which had no National Guard in 1916) by President Woodrow Wilson to guard the U.S.-Mexico border against bandit raids from Mexico.
When America entered WWI (1917-1918), the 1st New Hampshire Infantry sailed to France and became the First Army Headquarters Regiment. Most of the rest of the state militia was assigned to the 26th Division and fought in six campaigns in France. Lt. William H. Jutras was assigned to 26th Division, 103d Infantry, Company A, also known as the “Yankee Division” for its preponderance of the division’s New England origins.
The book, “With the Yankee division in France,” by Frank Palmer Sibley, published in 1919, goes into great detail about what the brave men, including William H. Jutras, experienced in Europe, so I will not repeat most of what is printed there. What is known from the citation above, is that he risked and lost his life for his platoon. An addendum to the story is that three men–Andreas Nilsen (a Red Cross man from North Dakota), Cyrus Wallace (of Dexter, Maine) and Corporal Herve L’Heureux (of Manchester NH) volunteered to help recover the badly wounded Jutras from the battlefield, despite the grave dangers. They were successful, William H. Jutras delivered his message to save his platoon, but he died shortly afterwards. He received the Distinguished Service Cross posthumously (see newspaper notice below).
The October 13, 1918 Boston Herald Newspaper announced: DIED OF WOUNDS–
JUTRAS, LT. WILLIAM H., 185 Beech Street, Manchester, N.H. A Company, 103d infantry. Unofficial.
A Manchester Union newspaper headline soon after: SECOND OFFICER FROM CITY DIES: First Lieutenant William Hilair Jutras, Company A 103d Infantry, Succumbs to Wounds
Lieutenant William Hilair Jutras of Company A, Old Lafayette Guards, 103d Infantry, died September 26 from wounds received in action, a telegram received last night from the war department announced. The word came to his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Jutras of 185 Beech Street. The local officer who has been in the Lafayette Guards nine years, was made First Lieutenant but two months ago. He had held the rank of Second Lieutenant for some time. He is the second Manchester Officer to give his life for his country. Lieutenant Donor Genard [Editors Note: Aimee D. Genard] of the same company dying early in the summer. Lieutenant Jutras’ name had not been in a casualty list among those wounded. It is believed he received his death wound in the Saint Mihiel battle. In the last letter from him, dated September 8, he wrote that he was well. “Don’t worry,” wrote Jutras,”I am always enjoying the best of health and am always on the job. Believe me, I love it. This is the life for a man who wants to work and you can imagine how proud I am of my commission as First Lieutenant.” The soldier stated in the same letter that they were not working hard then. He said he was living in a “chateaux” 18 feet under ground. “However we are not complaining at all, we have plenty to eat and we are comfortable for the time being. We have traveled almost to the four corners of this country and since we have been overseas, I have seen many beautiful places. Coming here we passed the village of Barleduc. First we were at Liffol-le-grand, in the Vosges, which we left February 4 for the Toul sector, but we are far from that place now.” Lieutenant Jutras was 27 years of age. He was a shoemaker, conducting a cobbler shop until the time he went to the Mexican border. Upon returning from Texas he went to work in a shoe factory. His long association with the Lafayette Guards made him one of the best known of the younger military officers in the city. He leaves, besides his parents, two brothers, Ernest and Romeo, and two sisters, Aldea and Rosalma.
The body of William H. Jutras was brought home for burial, and placed in St. Augustin
Cemetery, in the Jutras family plot. The Manchester Union newspaper announced the following: BURROUGHS EULOGIZES LIEUTENANT WILLIAM HILAIR JUTRAS
The funeral Lieutenant William Hilair Jutras of this city, who was killed in action during the famous Saint Mihiel drive and whose body was returned to this country for burial, was held Sunday afternoon in what is considered to be the largest attended military funeral that has been conducted in this state since the World War.
Governor Albert Q. Brown, unable to attend the funeral on account of official duties, sent the following telegram to the Jutras Post Officers: “I shall be unable to stand with you at the bier of Lieutenant Jutras, but his name and fame will remain with me while memory endures. Let us bear to mind that it is not length of life, but the fullness that makes for service and for glory.
Congressman Sherman E. Burroughs, representing Governor Brown, gave the funeral address at the Post Hall. He referred to the problems of “immeasurable magnitude” which face this country and declared that it should be possible and would be possible, to make the proper readjustments necessary in this country, if there is the same unselfish inerest in the country’s welfare on the part of all the citizens”manifested so splendidly in the service and sacrifice of this gallant young soldier.”
Congressman Burroughs, in opening, pointed out how “wholly cheap and inadequate” were any words to express the sentiments of those attending and himself. They were there, he added, to pay the homage of respect to one who gave all he had to give–even to his life–for the institutions and ideals of America.
Following the beautiful ceremonies at the Post Hall, came the funeral procession to Saint Augustin’s Church, and from there to the cemetary. At the church, Father L. A. Ramsay, a former army chaplain and chaplin of the Jutras Post, was the officiating clergyman and delivered the oration. He was assisted by Father C. M. Burque as deacon and four former servicemen. The servicemen who assisted at the church were, George Robitaille, Ernest Bernir, Adelmore Letendre, and Wilfred Remillard. At the cemetary, five buglars sounded “Taps” and as the body was lowered into the grave white carnations were thrown upon the casket by the members of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Jutras and Sweeny Posts.
B. C. Lambert and Company were in charge of funeral arrangements.
On Monday December 15, 1919 the Boston Herald (Boston MA), page 4, announced:
D.S.C. GIVEN TO MOTHER OF DEAD LIEUTENANT
Legion Post for Whom Hero Was Named is Formally Dedicated
Manchester, N.H. Dec 11–Mrs. Martha Barbeau Jutras, mother of Lt. William H. Jutras, who was killed in France, and after whom a local American Legion post is named, was this evening decorated with the D.S.C. awarded her soldier son posthumously by Maj. Oscar G. Lagerquiest, officially representing Maj.-Gen. Clarence R. Edwards, under whom Lt. Jutras served in the 26th division. Presentation of the cross took place at dedicatory exercises held by Jutras post. Gov. John H. Bartlett, Maj. Frank Knox, Mayor Moise Verrette and Capt. D.S. Robinson made speeches.
[Editor’s Note: This article is one of several I have written at the request of Don Pinard, Department of Public Works, Chief of Parks, Recreation and Cemetery Division, City of Manchester, New Hampshire. It is a volunteer project (on my part) to better record and share the stories of the men memorialized by the city’s “Military Squares.” All the information specifically within the body of this project is shared copyright free with the City of Manchester and its representatives, with the exception of photographs provided by family or friends who still retain whatever rights conveyed to them by law.]
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William H. Jutras Post #43 [founded in 1919; physically located at 228 McGregor Street from 1921 until the land was sold to construct the Henry J. Pariseau Highrise, that opened in 1987. At that time the post was removed to its current location at 56 Boutwell Street in Manchester NH].
On 8 October 1939, the Jutras Post #43 of the American Legion dedicated a section of the Mount Calvary Cemetery in Manchester NH to Franco-Americans. The monument placed there was sculpted by the famed Lucien H. Gosselin.
———-PARTIAL GENEALOGY of WILLIAM H. JUTRAS————
Possibly Pierre-Joseph Jutras & Marie-Marguerite Charpentier
Hyacinthe “Jessie” Jutras, [see above for possible parents, not verified] b. abt 1829 Canada, died 23 Sep 1893 in Manchester NH due to a fall while roofing a house; m. 16 July 1849 at St.-Anne Church, Manchester NH to Catherine Bonenfant [Goodchild]. She b abt Sept 11 1835 in Canada, and died 11 Feb 1901 in Canaan NH. She is buried in St. Augustine cemetery in Manchester NH. [A brother? — Jutras, who fell while roofing, “falling from the steeple,” while employed by Stark Corp.”]
1861 Canadian Census > Lower Canada > Yamaska, Canada East
Hyacinthe Jutras cultivator 38
Catherine Bone Enfant 28
Albert Jutras 11
Louis Jutras 8
Henri Jutras 3
Olive Jutras 10
Henritette Jutras 6
Jane Jutras 4
1870 US Census > NH > Hillsborough > Manchester
Jesse Jutus 41 Canad
Catharine Jutus 32 Canada
Louis Jutus 13 Canada
Henry Jutus 10o Canada
Alfred Jutus 8 Canada
Camille Jutus 5 Canada
Olive Jutus 19 NH
Harriet Jutus 15 Canada
Jane Jutus 12 Canada
Emily Jutus 6 Canada
1880 US Census > NH > Hillsborough Co. > Manchester
Justras, Jessie W M 51 slater Canada Can Can
Justras Catherine W F 47 wife keeping House Can Can Can
Justras, Alfred W M 19 son works in cotton mill Can Can Can
Jutras, Daniel W M 15 son works in cotton mill Can Can Can
Jutras, Olive W F 27 daughter clerk for dry goods store Can Can Can
Jutras, Jane W F 22 dau clerk in dry goods store Can Can Can
Jutras, Emily W F 16 duaghter clerk in dry goods store
1920 US Census > NH > Hillsborough > Manchester
Louis Jutras M 66 Canada
Philomene Jutras F 64 Canada
Exilia Douville F 42 Canada daughter
Lena Douville F 21 NH grand-daughter
Children of Hyacinthe & Catherine (Bonenfant) Jutras:
1. Albert Jutras, b.16 March 1851 Manchester NH; d. 28 May 1921 in Peterborough NH; married.Buried Peterborough NH
2. Olive Jutras, b. 23 Nov 1852 in Manchester NH; d. 16 June 1928 in Manchester NH, age 76 yrs 6 days 24 months; single; buried St. Augustine Cemetery
3. Louis Jutras, b. 16 Nov 1854 Canada, arrived in US 18 July 1869, naturalized 23 October 1886 in US District Court, Manchester NH; m. 11 Jan 1875 in Manchester NH to Philomene Sansouci/Sansoucy, daughter of Peter/Pierre and Esther (Remillard) Sansouci. She b abt 1855 and d. 6 March 1934 in Manchester NH. Children include: Excillia Jutras, b abt 1877 Canada, m. — Douville; Marie Jane Jutras, bap 22 Apr 1879, died 1 Aug 1879 in Mancester NH of cholera; Alfred Jutras, b 21 Jan 1881, d. 28 Dec 1937 in Concord NH; Frank David Jutras b abt 1883, died 19 Oct 1938 in Concord NH, m. 24 Dec 1902 to Lettie A. Belliveau, dau of Akin & Delia (Decato) Beliveau, they had son Edward L. died 20 Sep 1913 in Concord NH age 7; Emelie Jutras, b. 14 Sep 1885 in Canaan NH who m. Clinton Hosmer; Joseph W. Jutras, b abt 1891 and m. 24 Aug 1914 Florida Carmeline Pinard dau of George & Elise (Dion) Pinard; William L. Jutras, b 24 Apr 1897 in Dorchester NH and d. 23 April 1923 in Manchester NH, buried St. Joseph Cemetery, he m. 7 May 1917 in Manchester NH to Laura Auclair dau of Dorila & Olisie (Groux) Auclair;
4. Henriette/Harriet Jutras, b 18 Sep 1856 in Montreal PQ, d. 18 Oct 1919 Manchester NH; m. Arthur Provost; resided 526 Notre Dame Ave; buried Mt. Cavalry Cemetery 2(2) Oct 1919
5. Jane Jutrus, b abt 1858 Canada [per 1870 census]
6. Henry Jutrus, b. 1860, d. 7 July 1877 age 17
7. +Alfred Jutras, b. 3 Dec 1862 Canada; died 15 Nov 1929 Manchester NH
8. Emily Mary Jutras, b. abt 1864, died 5 Oct 1943 in Concord, Merrimack Co. NH; m. Varis J. Bennett
9. Camille Jutras, b abt 1865 [per 1870 census)
Alfred D. Jutras, son of Hyacinthe & Catherine (Bonenfant) Jutras, was b. 3 Dec 1862 in Canada, died 15 Nov 1929 in Manchester NH; he married Martha/Mattie/Marthe Barbeau. She was b. May 1867 in Canada. In 1891 they resided in Peterborough NH. By 1900 they were living in Manchester NH [377 Carter Street]. At the time of his death in 1919 he was residing at 209 Beech Street. Carpenter by trade. Alfred was buried at St. Augustine Cemetery on 18 Nov 1929.
1900 US Census > NH > Hillsborough > Manchester
Jutras, Alfred Head W M Dec 1862 37 married 13 yrs Can-French C-F C-F immigrated 1869, naturalized, ROOFER
Jutras, Martha wife W F May 1867 33 married 13 yrs 7 ch 4 living Can-English Can-French Can-French immigrated 1879 21 yrs res (not naturalized)
Jutras, William son W M Sep 1891 8 single NH Can-Fr Can-Fr at school
Jutras, Aldia daughter W F Apr 1893 7 single NH Can-Fr Can-Fr at school
Jutras, Ernest son W M Oct 1894 5 single NH Can-Fr Can-Fr
Jutras Rose A dau W F March 1900 2/12 single NH Can-Fr Can-Fr
Barbeau, Henry Boarder W M Jan 1893 7 single NH Can-Fr Can-Fr
1910 US Census > NH > Hillsborough > Manchester > 6 Notre Dame Ave
Alfred Jutras M 47 Canada slate roofer
Martha Jutras 43 Canada wife 8 children 5 living
William Jutras M 18 NH son clerk grocery
Aldia Jutras F 17 NH dau spooler cotton mill
Ernest Jutras M 15 NH son slip boy shoe shop
Rose Alena Jutras F 10 NH dau
Romeo Jutras M 7 NH son
Children of Alfred & Martha (Barbeau) Jutras:
1. Joseph Arthur Jutras, b. 10 Aug 1888 in Manchester NH
2. Marie Aldia Jutras, b. 9 Dec 1889 in Manchester NH; baptized 10 Dec 1899
3. Aldea Joutras/Jutras, b. 1890, died 8 February 1891
4. **William Hilair Jutras, b. 19 Sep 1891 in Peterborough NH [subject of post]
5. Blanche Aldea “Aldia” Jutras, b. April 1893 Manchester NH; m. 3 May 1915 in Manchester NH to George F. Linen, son of James & Margaret (Foley) Linen
6. Ernest Aime Jutras, b. 25 October 1894 in Manchester NH; he married 14 Aug 1916 in Manchester NH to Sarah Roy, dau of Lucien & Aurore (Boivin) Roy.
7. Rose Anna Eddie Jutras, b. 18 March 1900 in Manchester NH; she m. 7 Sep 1930 in Manchester NH to Agenor J. Deziel, son of Joseph & Rebecca (Bellemore) Deziel
8. Romeo Edward Jutras, b abt 1903 in Manchester NH, and died 16 June 1943 in Goffstown NH; he m. 5 Oct 1931 in Manchester NH to Laura Bergeron, dau of Syrenus & Rose (Landry) Bergeron