Military of New Hampshire: The PENACOOK BRIGADE in World War 1

A 1917 photograph of the "Penacook Brigade," a group of men who served in World War 1 in the "Yankee Division." Courtesy of Ruth Speed, used with her permission.

A 6 July 1917 photograph of the “Penacook Brigade,” a group of men from Penacook (Concord) NH who served during World War 1 mainly in the U.S. Army’s “Yankee Division.” Courtesy of Ruth Speed, used with her permission.

Sometimes all it takes is a single picture to grab your attention and incite you to historical research. A photograph owned by Ruth Speed recently instigated that  reaction when it appeared on the “Penacook NH Yesterday & Today” FaceBook site. A group of men, mostly clad in World War 1 army uniforms, sit and stand beside a brick building. The photograph is dated 6 July 1917. 

—- The photograph’s caption —-
THE PENACOOK BRIGADE — July 6, 1917.  1st Row L-R Joseph Guyette, Guy Gregg, Harry Wilmot, Frank Sullivan; 2nd Row, L-R: Albert Sheppard, Earl Johnson, Vic Ketchum, Leon Magee, David La Duke, Sylvester Brodeur, Henry Ketchum, Charles LeBeau, Bill Landy; 3rd Row, Lean Pingree, Nelson LaClair, Leo Miner, Perley Ketchum, Levi Cowan, Percy Morrill, Leo Lavoie, Dominic O’Clair, Walt Houston.  [NOTE: Per Ruth Speed: “The photo was given by Alice Colby to BJ Tuininga, who at the time was the historian of The Penacook Historical Society. I believe that the men had already been identified by the person who gave Alice the picture originally.”  Based on information kindly provided by Tassee J. McAuley, the original order of people in the third row is incorrect.  The man indicated as Dominic O’Clair (in the back row) is Nelson LaClair (and vise versa I will presume for now).  So I am correcting their photographs and biographies below.  

EDITOR’S NOTE: It was presumed that the photographs matched up correctly with the order of the names written on the photograph.  Apparently this is not so. (see comments).

The site of this photograph, taken in March 2016 by Debbie LaValley. Used with her permission

Merchants Exchange building, photograph taken in summer 2015, by Debbie LaValley. Used with her permission. The original Penacook Brigade scene was taken here, on the Washington Street side of the building (left facing in this photo)

The location where the photograph was taken was at the Merchant’s Exchange Block in downtown Penacook. The picture was taken on the Washington Street side beside the drug store.

The men were, for the most part, members of what became part of the “Yankee Division”the 103rd Infantry, 26th Infantry Division of the United States Army. This famed “Yankee Division” was organized from National Guard troops from all of the New England states, along with a few drafted recruits from the 76th Division used as replacements just before they left for overseas duty. This new Division was formed on 13 August 1917, authorized by the War Department. The Yankee Division was a seasoned group of men, most of which had received training, and had either seen active service or performed guard duty. [To read more, scroll down to “Twenty-Sixth Division, National Guard” at this link]

But who were these Penacook men, who served so devotedly? They were brothers in a Division that would be known for such great bravery and also horrific losses so that its own members nicknamed it “the Sacrifice Division.” The descriptions that follow will not only give an identity to the faces in this photograph, but will also help us to learn what became of these heroes.

+++— Pvt. Joseph N. Guyette —+++

Joseph N. Guyette (closeup from first photo)

Joseph N. Guyette (closeup from group photo)

The first man mentioned in this photograph would not return home alive. In the first row, fourth from the right, sitting is Private Joseph Guyette. He was a member of Company E, 103rd infantry, enlisting 1 April 1917 in Concord New Hampshire. He was sent to France with his Division shortly after America declared war. He was only 19 years old. [Note: the date of the publication of this story, on 1 April 2016 is 99 years to the day that Pvt. Joseph N. Guyette enlisted].

Joseph N. Guyette died on 16 June 1918 at the Battle of Xivray-et-Marvoisin, France, among the 28 killed, 167 wounded and 47 gassed within the “Yankee Division,” in that particular battle. He was the first son of Penacook to lose his life in World War 1.

1919 Funeral procession for Joseph Guyette.

June 1921 funeral procession for Joseph Guyette. Photograph from Ruth Speed, used with her permission.

Joseph was born in January 1899 in New Hampshire [per 1900 census], the son of Felix & Matilda (Durgin) Guyette. He came from a French-Canadian family who had  immigrated to New Hampshire  seeking a better life. His father, Felix, was a naturalized citizen of the United States (1884), who worked hard as a day laborer while Joseph was growing up. Joseph Guyette had siblings: Maude, John F., Lena, George, and Anna. The Guyette family moved frequently, living in 1900 at 112 West Canal Street; in 1910 at 6 Pine Street in (Penacook) Concord, and in 1920 at 40 North Main Street in Boscawen.

Burial of Joseph Guyette in Calvary Cemetery, Penacook NH. Photograph courtesy of Ruth Speed, used with her permission.

Burial of Joseph Guyette in Calvary Cemetery, Penacook NH. Photograph courtesy of Ruth Speed, used with her permission.

Joseph did not marry or have children, but he does have relatives still living in the Penacook area. Of Joseph’s family, his sister MAUDE M. Guyette married Charles Almidos LeBeau, also seen in these photographs, and a member of the same military Division; LENA married Henry Joseph Dube (descendants still live in the area), GEORGE married twice and died in 1973; and ANNA married Robert Matott, living at 81 Center St in Penacook. Robert and Anna (Guyette) Matott’s descendants still live in the greater Concord area.

On 18 November 1918 “The World War” was declared over. Many of the bodies of the slain were originally buried close to where they fell on the battlefield, and reburied at military cemeteries overseas. After the war ended, some remains were returned home for reburial, and such is the case of Joseph Guyette. In June of 1921 a full military funeral was held for him in Penacook, with a cavalcade procession and many in attendance. The citizens of Penacook contributed toward a tombstone in Penacook’s Calvary Cemetery, to commemorate his service, and mark the spot of his final resting place.

Circa 1953 photograph of Rolfe Park Swimming Pool, courtesy of Ruth Speed, used with her permission.

Circa 1953 photograph of the Rolfe Park Swimming Pool, courtesy of Ruth Speed, used with her permission.

—–Inscription in Calvary Cemetery, Penacook NH—–
PVT Joseph Guyette
Co. E, 103d Inf 26th Div
Killed in action at X1VRAY
June 16, 1918
Erected by the citizens of Penacook



Photograph of Commemorative boulder in front of Guyette Pool aka Rolfe Park Pool. Copyright Debbie LaValley, used here with her permission.

Photograph of Commemorative boulder in front of Guyette Pool aka Rolfe Park Pool. Copyright Debbie LaValley 2016, used here with her permission.

By the 1930s the original swimming pool at Rolfe Park had been named in Joseph Guyette’s honor, with a plaque affixed to a boulder that has moved at least one time but now sits near the entrance. SADLY both the Penacook and Concord web sites call this the Rolfe Park Pool and completely ignore the older naming protocols.

The wording on the plaque states: GUYETTE (seal of US Army) POOL | In Memory of | JOSEPH N. GUYETTE | Co E 103 INF 26th DIV | ENLISTED APRIL 1, 1917 CONCORD NH  | KILLED IN ACTION 15 JUNE 1918 XIVRAY FRANCE

Let us not forget.

+++— Private 1C Guy Harris Gregg —+++

Guy Gregg (closeup from earlier photo)

Guy Gregg (closeup from group photo)

Guy Harris Gregg enlisted 8 Nov 1915 in the NH National Guard. When the guard transitioned to a U.S. military division, he reported for service on 25 July 1917.  He served during WW1 with Co. E, 103rd Infantry, 26th Division (the Yankee Division) and was given an honorable  discharge on 28 April 1919.

Guy H. Gregg was born 27 January 1897 in  Concord NH, and died 6 September 1952, son of Harris B. & Emma G. (Annis) Gregg. His parents were from Warner NH, his father was a barber.  Guy’s parents lived at 3 Spring Street, where he grew up and attended the local schools.   He had siblings: Walter, Marion, Roy, and Clara.

Guy H. Gregg married 1st) 25 Dec 1919 in Penacook NH to Mable Dowd, daughter of Walter E. & Della/Delia (Jemery) Dowd She born about 1904 in Concord NH.  They had several children and divorced.  He married 2d) on 25 Feb 1943 in Portsmouth NH to Yvonne Marie Drapeau, daughter of Louis Emond & Rebecca Enenr (she had been previously married).   During his lifetime Guy worked as both a machinist and an electrician. In the 1920s he lived in Plymouth NH. In 1930 he (with 1st wife and children) were living in Peru, Clinton Co. NY where he was a road worker. In 1942 his WW2 registration card show he was living in Concord NH, employed by the US Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth NH. He is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, Penacook NH.  He had children: Walter, Lawrence, Lillian, Burleigh and Pearl who remained in Peru NY with their mother.

Harry Wilmot (closeup from group photo)

Harry Wilmot (closeup from group photo)

+++— Bugler Harry Joseph Wilmot —+++

Harry Joseph Wilmot was the bugler for Company E, 103rd Infantry, 26th Division, US Army.  According to an American Legion article: being a bugler “was a hazardous position in any infantry unit. In addition to the standard reveille and Taps calls, the bugler blurted out command signals for the troops during action. To do so required him to stand tall and play the instrument with great force so all could hear over the rattling of machine guns and the explosions of artillery shells. He was a strategic target for the enemy. Cutting off lines of communication in war was an essential objective for the enemy…. ”   Harry J. Wilmot’s  military record states that he received a purple heart for his brave actions in battle.ww1 purple heart

Boston Herald newspaper, Boston MA, 29 November 1918, page 14, under heading WOUNDED, DEGREE UNDETERMINED: “WILMOT, SERGT. HARRY J., 47 Centre Street, Penacook, N.H.”

Harry Joseph Wilmot was born  29 Nov 1892 in Pembroke NH, the son of Joseph & Emerine (Duclos) Wilmot.  He died 15 Sep 1961, and is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, Penacook NH.   After the war ended, he married on 10 May 1919 in Concord NH to Marion Clara Gregg, dau of Harris B. & Emma G. (Annis) Gregg, who was sister to his brother-in-arms, Guy H. Gregg (bio directly above).  He lived at 80 High Street in Penacook NH.
Before the war he was a carpenter’s helper, and after the war worked in the carpentry business.  In 1943 working at Concord Lumber Works.

Frank Sullivan (closeup from group photo)

Frank Sullivan (closeup from group photo)

+++— Private Frank Joseph Sullivan —+++

Francis “Frank” Joseph Sullivan served in Company E., 103rd Infantry, 26th Division, U.S. Army [according to the “U.S. Adjutant General Military Records 1631-1976, 1917-1919, Volume 1” see later].

Frank J. Sullivan was born 11 June 1898 in Concord, New Hampshire, the son of John J. & Agnes M. (Blanchard) Sullivan. His father was an Irish immigrant to the United States, who worked as a ‘quarryman’ in the Concord granite quarries. Census records show that Frank finished 8th grade.

Older photograph of Penacook's Police Station. Courtesy of Ruth Speed.

Older photograph of Penacook’s Police Station. Courtesy of Ruth Speed.

He married 4 Oct 1926 to Katherine Mary Nyhan, dau of John & Mary F. (Byrne) Nyham. At the time of his marriage, he was an auto painter, while “Kate” was a stenographer.    By 1940 Frank J. Sullivan was a police patrolman for City of Concord living at 6 Keanes Avenue, and by 1955 he had been promoted to Police Sergent.   He died 27 Jan 1972.  His burial location is unknown, but possibly he is buried in Calvary Cemetery where other members of his family have a plot.

Frank and Kate Sullivan had three children: John J., Francis J., and Maureen T. Sullivan. Descendants continue to live in the Concord area (i.e. Francis J. Sullivan Jr. of Fellows Street in Concord who died in 2003 was his son).

============SECOND ROW===========

+++— Sgt. Albert Joseph Shepard —+++

Albert Shepard (closeup from group photo)

Albert Shepard (closeup from group photo)

Sergent Albert Joseph “A.J.” Shepard served during WW1 in Company E., 103rd Infantry, 26th Division, U.S. Army [according to the “U.S. Adjutant General Military Records 1631-1976, 1917-1919, Volume 1” see later].

Albert Joseph Shepard, was born 5 September 1895 in Concord, New Hampshire, the  adopted son of William J. & Julia M. (Miner) Shepard.   In 1910 when he filled out his WW1 Registration form, at the age of 24 he had already served 2 years as a sergeant in the NH National Guard, and was working as a prison guard. In later years he appears to have worked at both real estate and insurance.

WWI Sergeant insignia

WWI Sergeant insignia

Following his military service, he married 1st) 23 Aug 1919 Pittsfield NH to Elinor Elizabeth Bailey, daughter of Frank A. Bailey & Sarah Grant. She was b. Lakeport NH.
He married 2d) —- [next marriage to Anna says it is his third]. He married 3d) 27 Nov 1929 Portsmouth NH to Anna M. Collins-Maronie, daughter of Edward F. Collins & Catherine I. Murphy [His 3rd marriage, her 2d, both divorced]. He married 4th) 10 April 1947 Rochester NH to Thelma Pearl Ingalls, daughter of Belmont Ingalls and Sadie Dunn.  It is unknown if he had any children. He died 24 September 1986 and is buried in Maine Veteran’s Memorial Cemetery, in Augusta, Maine.  His marker reads: SGT US ARMY WORLD WAR I.”

+++— Pvt. Earl Herman Johnson —+++

Earl Johnson (closeup from group photo)

Earl Johnson (closeup from group photo)

Earl H. Johnson served with Company E, 103rd Infantry, 26th Division, U.S. Army [according to the “U.S. Adjutant General Military Records 1631-1976, 1917-1919, Volume 1” see later].  The Boston Herald newspaper (Boston MA) of 7 August 1918, page 10 lists under heading “Severely Wounded:” JOHNSON, PRIV. EARL, Penacook, N.H. E. Company, 103d infantry is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Herman W. Johnson, 120 Merrimack Street.

He was born 17 May 1899 in Warner NH, son of Herman W. & Nellie (Page) Johnson.   He had siblings Raymond P. (older) and John D, Robert A., and Cyril M. (younger).  Census records state that he had an 8th grade education.

When the war ended, Earl H. Johnson married 5 September 1921 in Penacook NH to Winifred Baril, daughter of Gideon & Mary (Supry) Baril.   In 1940 he and his family lived at 90 Centre Street in Concord, NH, and working as a “factory worker” in an Electronic factory.  They had at least one child, Donald E. Johnson, b abt 1933 in Concord NH. Earl H. Johnson died March 1981 in NH, aged 82.  His burial place is unknown.

+++— Pvt. Victor Harold Ketchum —+++

Victor Ketchum (closeup from group photo)

Victor Ketchum (closeup from group photo)

Victor H. Ketchum served with Company E, 103rd Infantry, 26th Division, U.S. Army [according to the “U.S. Adjutant General Military Records 1631-1976, 1917-1919, Volume 1” see later].  Brother to Henry Ketcham shown later in this post.  Victor was severely wounded, recovered, and returned to active duty [see brother’s post below for newspaper notice].

Victor Harold Ketchum was b. 1 July 1898 in Boscawen NH, son of John C. & Annie (Miner) Ketchum.  His family lived on Tremont Street in Boscawen, where he grew up and attended school, finishing 8th grade.  His siblings included: Perley, John Jr., Henry, and William/Willie.

After the war, he returned home and by 1930 was living in Boscawen NH and working in a flour mill.  He married 25 Dec 1943 in Penacook NH to Adelma Christina Sanborn-Rodd, dau of Charles Sanborn & Christine A. Nicholson.  At the time of his marriage, he listed his occupation as railroad worker.  In 1953 he was employed by BT Corp and lived at 49 Merrimack Street.

Victor Harold Ketchum died 10 Feb 1954 Concord (Penacook) NH at the age of 55 of a heart attack.  He is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, Penacook NH.

+++— Pvt. Leon Nelson Magee —+++

Leon Nelson McGee, (close up from group photo)
formerly mis-identified as Sylvester Brodeur.

Leon Nelson Magee served with Company E, 103rd Infantry, 26th Division, U.S. Army [according to the “U.S. Adjutant General Military Records 1631-1976, 1917-1919, Volume 1” see later]. His military marker states he served in both World War 1 and 2.

“Leon Nelson Magie” was born 22 April 1899 in Concord NH, son of Nelson H. Magie/Magee & Alice Boynton. He finished two years of high school.

After the war, he m1) 12 May 1920 in Concord NH to Verna Mae Poole, dau of George & Mary E. Poole. They divorced 27 June 1930. Daughter:  Ethel Barbara Magee Davis Cappuccio.  He m2) 2 Sep 1932 in Boscawen NH to Cora Irene Noe-Roy, dau of Fred & Mary (Miner) Noe. She had married 1st) 22 Aug 1925 in Boscawen NH to Carlton E. Roy, son of Ephraim & May (Dausett) Roy.   He had a daughter Darlene Magee, born 1934, and a step-daughter, Theresa Roy born 1926. [see his obituary on FaceBook]

He worked at various jobs including one as a printer in a printing office.  In 1953 he was living at 7 Cross Street in Concord NH.  Leon M. Magee died 26 June 1969 in Manchester New Hampshire (VA Hospital), and is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, in Penacook NH.
1932 Henry C.
His Wife
1933 MARLENE J. 1968
1899 LEON N. 1969
His wife
1904 CORA I. 1973

+++— Pvt. David Frank LaDuke —+++

David LaDuke (closeup from group photo)

David LaDuke (closeup from group photo). This is correct and it matches information his family has on his service and other photos.

David F. LaDuke served with Company E, 103rd Infantry, 26th Division, U.S. Army [according to the “U.S. Adjutant General Military Records 1631-1976, 1917-1919, Volume 1” see later].  Boston Herald newspaper, Boston MA, 23 August 1918, Under heading “WOUNDED:” LADUKE, PRIV. DAVID, Penacook, N.H., wounded in both arms. Unofficial report by letter to mother.

David Frank LaDuke was born 5 March 1900 in Concord NH, son of David & Maud (Durkin/Deragon) LaDuke.   He attended local schools, finishing one year of high school. After the war, he married 5 Sep 1931 in Laconia NH to Grace Wooley-Boltwood, dau of James & Mary (Davis) Wooley. She was b. 20 March 1886 in Boscawen NH, a widow of Harry Boltwood. By 1940 they had not had any children.

In 1940 David and his wife were living at 48 Tremont Street in Boscawen, NH, and he was working as a wool weigher in a woolen mill.  In 1959 he was employed by the NH State Liquor Warehouse.

David F. LaDuke died 18 April 1967 in Concord NH and is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, Penacook, N.H.

+++— Pvt. Sylvester J. Brodeur —+++

Sylvester Brodeur (closeup from group photo)
formerly mis-identified as Nelson Magee

Sylvester J. Brodeur served in Company E., 103rd Infantry, 26th Division, U.S. Army [according to the “U.S. Adjutant General Military Records 1631-1976, 1917-1919, Volume 1” see later].  In 1917 he served as a private in the U.S. Infantry, and this is reflected on his WW1 Draft Registration card.  On 14 December 1918 the Boston Herald newspaper notes the following under “Severely Wounded” section: Brodeur, Priv. Sylvester, Penacook NH.”  His burial marker indicates “PH” which would mean he received a Purple Heart.

He was born 6 August 1892 [draft registration and SSDI show this date, though his tombstone shows 10 August 1892], the son of Dennis & Salamie (Brouillette) Brodeur. He had siblings, Phebe, Mitchell, Mederise, and Felix.ww1 purple heart

In 1917 was living at 16 Rolfe Street in Penacook, and he had been working as a woolen weaver at Harris Emery Co.  By 1942 when he completed a WW2 Registration card, a now 49-year-old Sylvester J. Brodeur was living at 36 Center Street in Penacook NH, and still working for the same company.  In 1955 Sylvester and his wife were living at 19-1/2 State Street, his occupation being janitor for J.C. Pitman & Son, and special reserve Concord Police Department.

Sylvester J. Brodeur married Agnes Supry.  She was b. abt 1896.  They had at least three children: Veronica, Madeline and John.  He died 25 April 1966, and is buried in Calvary Cemetery, Penacook, New Hampshire.

+++— Pvt. Henry James Ketchum —+++

Henry Ketchum (closeup from group photo)

Henry Ketchum (closeup from group photo)

Henry James Ketchum served in Company E., 103rd Infantry, 26th Division, U.S. Army [according to the “U.S. Adjutant General Military Records 1631-1976, 1917-1919, Volume 1” see later].  He was the brother to Victor Ketchum who also served in the same Company and is detailed above.  In June of 1917 his WW1 Draft Registration card shows he had already enrolled in the New Hampshire National Guard. He enlisted in the US Army on 5 August 1917, and was honorably discharged 24 January 1919.   He was wounded as shown by the newspaper notice as follows:

Boston Herald, Boston MA, 16 July 1918, page 3
Henry Ketchum Follows Brother Into Hospital at the Front
[Special Dispatch to Herald and Journal]
PENNACOOK, N.H., July 15–Priv. Henry Ketchum, a member of E. company, 103d infantry, has been wounded by a shell explosion and is in the Yale base hospital in France recovering from a wound in his leg, according to a letter received from him by his father, John Ketchum, of this town. A portion of the shell passed entirely through one leg and became embedded in the other, the soldier writes in his letter, dated June 23. No reference has been made to him in the casualty list. Henry is the second son to receive wounds in France. A brother, Priv. Victor Ketchum of the same company, who was mentioned as seriously wounded in the casualty list two months ago, has recovered and has returned to duty according to information received in the letter.

Henry James Ketchum was born 17 February 1890 in Boscawen, NH, son of John C. & Annie/Rosanna (Miner) Ketchum.  In 1917 prior to WW1, he was working as an electrical signalman on B&M RR in Laconia NH.

After the war, he married 25 Feb 1919 in Laconia NH to Eva Marie Theberge, daughter of Fred & Marie (Landry) Theberge.  Their children were: Norma, Henry H. Lorraine R., Robert R., Elizabeth L., and Mary M.  They lived at 49 High Street in Tilton NH from 1930 to his death.

Henry J. Ketchum died 22 Sep 1968 [per US Dept of Veteran’s Affairs].   Burial location unknown.

+++— Pvt. Charles Almidos LaBeau —+++

Charles LaBeau (close up from group photo)

Charles LaBeau (close up from group photo)

Charles Almidos LaBeau, served in Company E., 103rd Infantry, 26th Division, U.S. Army [according to the “U.S. Adjutant General Military Records 1631-1976, 1917-1919, Volume 1” see later].  On June 6, 1917 when he completed a WW1 Draft Registration Card, it was noted that he had been a private in the infantry for 1 month. At that time he was living at 34 W. Main Street in Penacook.

Charles A. LaBeau was born 14 April 1889 Dayville (Killingly) CT, the son of Louis & Azalia “Sadie” (Bonner) LeBeau.  [Note: sometimes the surname is spelled LEBeau instead of LABeau.] In 1917 he was a woolen weaver at Harrris Emery Co.,  Commercial St., Penacook, and living at 123 Elm Street Penacook. In 1921 the magazine, Textile World, Vol 59 announced: Charles Labeau has resigned as second hand of weaving at the Standish Worsted Co., Penacook NH.

Charles A. LaBeau married 1st) 14 Sep 1914 to Lena Beaubien, dau of Amadie & Lucy (Rocheleau) Beaubien;  He married 2d) 21 July 1919 Penacook NH to Maude Guyette dau of Felix & Matilda (Durgin) Guyette, who was the sister of Joseph Guyette, the first man killed in WW1 from Penacook (see first entry at top of page).  He had at least one child, Dolores L. Labeau who m. Arthur W. Ballard.

Charles A. Labeau died on 1 April 1954 and is buried in Penacook’s Calvary Cemetery.

+++— Pvt. William R. “Bill” Landry —+++

Bill Landry (closeup from group photo)

Bill Landry (closeup from group photo)

William R. Landry served in Company E., 103rd Infantry, 26th Division, U.S. Army [according to the “U.S. Adjutant General Military Records 1631-1976, 1917-1919, Volume 1” see later]. The Dept. of Veteran’s Affairs states that he enlisted  14 Apr 1916, and was honorable discharged 31 Oct 1919.

William R. Landry was born on 14 April 1899 at Concord NH, the son of Napoleon & Mary (Durant) Landry. In 1900 his family lived in Boscawen, New Hampshire. His siblings included Eva, George and Meddia.   Census records indicate that he finished 6th grade.

He married  in Missouri to Libbie/Libby York.  She was b. 26 Nov 1907 in Missouri, and d. June 1986.  They had at least one child, son Fred b abt 1924 in Missouri.  In 1940 William and family were living in Missouri, working on a street paving project.

William R. Landry died 25 July 1980 in New Hampshire. His last residence was in Canterbury, Merrimack Co. NH.  He is buried in Pine Grove Cemetery, Boscawen NH.

============THIRD ROW===========

+++— Pvt. Leon Walter Pingree —+++

Leon Pingree (close up from group photo)

Leon Pingree (close up from group photo)

Leon Walter Pingree [according to the Dept. of Veteran’s Affairs], enlisted in the US Army on 25 Jul 1917, and was released on 8 Aug 1917. His name does not show up on the official roster of the 103rd Infantry, 26th Division, so it is unknown whether he was released to enter a different branch of the service, or if he was disqualified from service for medical reasons.  His World War 1 Draft card of June 5, 1917 shows him as a private in the infantry.

Leon W. Pingree was born 28 May 1894 at New London NH, the son of Edwin A. & Mary Delia (Odette) Pingree.

Leon Walter Pingree m1) 25 Dec 1917 in Concord NH to Viola Lillian Dunn, daughter of Thomas T. & Mary E. (Davy) Dunn. He married 2d) 3 July 1947 in Penacook NH to Addie Bernice Dow-Mackinaw, dau of George H. Dow & Minnie M. Wells In 1942 he lived at 19-1/2 Washington Street, Penacook NH, working for Johns & Lugg, 1 Tremont St., Concord NH. In 1947 he was a construction worker, residing 16 Merrimack Street

Leon W. Pingree died 27 September 1981. He is buried in Franklin Cemetery, Franklin, Merrimack Co. NH.

+++— Pvt. Nelson Joseph LaClair (LeClaire) —+++

Telesphore O'Clair (closeup from group photo)

Nelson LaClair/LeClaire (closeup from group photo)

Nelson Joseph LaClair was a member of the Medical Department of the 103rd Infantry, 26th Division.  According to the U.S. Dept. of Veteran’s affairs, he enlisted 11 January 1916, and was honorably discharged on 28 April 1919.  During WW1 he was cited for bravery as follows:

France Aug 31, 1918, General Orders No 74 (Extract)
1. The Division Commander takes pleasure in citing in order the following names officers and men who have shown marked gallantry and meritorious service in the capture of Torcy, Belleau, Givry, Bouresches Wood, Rochet Woods, Hill 190, overlooking Chateau Thierry, Étrépilly, Bezuet, Épieds, Trugny, and La Fere Woods to the Argonne-Fere-on-Tardenois Road during the advance of this Division against the enemy from July 18th to 25th, 1918, in the second Battle of the Marne.
Pri. NELSON J. LECLAIRE, Med. Dept. 103rd Infantry.
by C.R. Edwards, Major General, Commanding.

Nelson Joseph Laclair, was born 7 Feb 1898 in Northfield, Washington Co., VT, son of Nelson Joseph & Eleanor Mary “Lenora” (Faucher) Laclair.  He had a sibling, Elizabeth, who married Existe Joseph Champagne and continued to live in the Concord area.

Nelson J. LaClair married 1st on 25 Aug 1919 Penacook NH to Jennie Emeline “Jane” O’Brien; He m2d) Dorothy Isabelle Angwin. In 1940 living in Concord NH with spouse, Jane E.. Children include Francis N. Marjorie E., Evelyn A., Katherine J., Paul A. Mary A., Vernon R., Robert J., and Ruth J.  In 1949 he was living with wife Jennie at 22 Center Street in Penacook, working as a carpenter.

Nelson J. LaClair died 5 October 1991 in Boscawen NH, and is buried in Calvary Cemetery, Penacook, NH. His Tombstone Inscription: Nelson J. LaClair Jr. | US Army | World War I | 1898 1991

+++— Pvt. Leo Miner —+++

Leo Miner (closeup from group photo)

Leo Miner (closeup from group photo)

Leo Miner served in Company E., 103rd Infantry, 26th Division, U.S. Army [according to the “U.S. Adjutant General Military Records 1631-1976, 1917-1919, Volume 1” see later].  He enlisted 1 May 1917 (at age 18) and was honorably discharged 28 April 1919. The Boston Herald, Boston MA, 6 October 1918, page 9, under heading “WOUNDED SEVERELY:” MINER, PRIV LEO, 1 Bye Street, Penacook NH.”  His official records indicate he should have been issued a Purple Heart.

Leo Miner was born 18 June 1899 at Boscawen, NH, ww1 purple heartthe son of Alexander “Alex/Alick” Miner & Albena/Albina Shepard. Leo’s father was a weaver in a woolen Mill. Leo had siblings: Ernest T, Henry Irving, Raymond Taft, Cora Ann, Mary Rose, and Evon.

Leo Miner married 12 July 1920 in Concord NH to Rosana Jolin, dau of Henry Jolin & Josephine Mercier. In 1930 they were living on Curtice Ave, Concord, with children: Henry, Robert, and Marion.  In 1949 he was an employee of the Cemetery Dept, house 202 Rumford Street.

Leo Miner died 25 Sep 1961.  He was issued a flat granite marker, intended to be placed at a plot in Blossom Hill Cemetery, in Concord, New Hampshire.

+++— Perley Abner Ketchum —+++

Perley Ketchum (closeup from group photo)

Perley Ketchum (closeup from group photo)

Perley Abner Ketchum’s WW1 Draft Registration card in 1917 indicates that he had served (or was serving) in the National Guard’s Hospital Corps.   The Adjutant General list of the members of 103rd Infantry, 26th Division, U.S. Army, does NOT mention his name.  However it does not mention other known members who served in the medical corp.

Perley Abner Ketchum was born 17 May 1894, in Boscawen New Hampshire, son of John C. & Rosanna (Miner) Ketchum.  His brothers, Henry and Victor are described above.  He married 21 Nov 1921 in Concord NH to Margurite “Margaret” Brown, dau of Lawson A. Brown & Melissa Flumnery.  At the time of the WW2 Draft  (1942) he was living at 25 Tremont Street, Penacook NH, working at Stratton & Co, also in Penacook.  In 1933 he was a Miller at the same company, but living at 20 Summer Street Penacook NH.

Perley Abner Ketchum died June 1966 (according to the SSDI). His gravesite is unknown.

+++— Corp. Levi Albert Cowen —+++

Levi Cowen (close up from group photo)

Levi Cowen (close up from group photo)

Levi A. Cowen served in served in Company C., 103rd Infantry, 26th Division, U.S. Army [according to the “U.S. Adjutant General Military Records 1631-1976, 1917-1919, Volume 1” see later].  He enlisted 20 July 1917, and was honorably discharged 20 March 1919. From Boston Herald newspaper, Boston MA, 11 December 1918, page 8 Under “Slightly Wounded:” COWEN, CORP. LEVI A., Penacook NH.” [Note: early local records spell his surname COWAN, while later and military records use COWEN].

corporal insignia

WW1 corporal insignia.

Levi A. Cowan, was born 11 February 1891 in Boscawen, NH, the son of Frank B. & Mary (Churchill) Cowan. Levi was named after his paternal grandfather, and had a sister, Cleo.  Frank B. Cowan, his father, was a mail carrier for the US Postal Service.  Levi finished high school in the Boscawen area, and is noted in the Boscawen town records as at least one year having perfect attendance.

In 1920 Levi was working as a printer. At the time of the WW1 Draft Registration, he was working as a telephone operator and printer at NET&T Co., Ward of Concord NH.  He listed a possible exemption of service as “Telephone Service,” however, it is obvious from later documents that he indeed served in the military.

He married 11 March 1921 in Penacook NH to Louise Anna Shortlove, dau of George Shortlove & Sarah Ellen Matot.  In 1941 he was living at 331 Huntington Ave, Apt 7, Boston and working for Forbes Lithograph Co. of Chelsea MA.  Not known if he had children.

According to the US Dept of Internal Affairs BIRLS Death File, Levi A. Cowen died 26 October 1972 in Boston, MA. His final resting place is unknown.

+++— Pvt. Percival Eugene “Percy” Morrill —+++

Percy Morrill (closeup from group photo)

Pvt. Percy Morrill (closeup from group photo)

Percival E. Morrill does not appear on the list of the 103rd Infantry, 26th Division, U.S. Army, however in 1930 he does state he served in the military in the “WW” (World War 1), and his grave site has a bronze American Legion marker.  Percy Morrill’s grandson, Rocky Ford provided his honorable discharge papers which shows that Percy enlisted 5 June 1917 at Concord NH.  He served as a Private in the Medical Department, 103rd Infantry.  He was present at the following battle locations: Chemin des Dames Sector Feb 6 to March 12, 1918; Toul Sector April 2 to June 28 1918; Chateau-Thierry Offensive July 10 to July 25, 1918; Saint-Mihiel Offensive Sept 12 to Oct 13, 1918; Troyon Section Sept 14 to Oct 8 1918; and Meuse-Argonne Offensive Oct 18 to Nov 11 1918.  “From a medical standpoint, World War I was a miserable and bloody affair. In less than a year the American armed forces suffered more than 318,000 casualties, of which 120,000 were deaths.” [NCMedia]

Percival Eugene “Percy” Morrill was born 3 May 1899 Canterbury NH, son of Alexander W. Morrill and Ethel Gale. Percival E. Morrill married m 1st) 6 August 1919 in Concord NH to Dorothy May Wentworth, dau of Howard Wenthworth & Celia Miner.  He m. 2d) 1 April 1936 in Concord NH to Bertha L. Dwinal-King dau of William Dwinal & Myrtle Chamberlin. She was b 1914 and d. 1965.   He was a letter/mail carrier for the US Postal Service for much of his life.

He died 28 April 1957 Boscawen NH  at the Norris Nursing Home, and is buried in Calvary Cemetery, Penacook NH. He still has relatives in the area.  Rocky Ford is a grandson.

+++— Leo Joseph Lavoie —+++

Leo Lavoie (close up from group photo)

Leo Lavoie (close up from group photo)

Leo Joseph Lavoie may have served in the military, though I cannot find any direct evidence other than that he stated he had served, in the 1930 United States Census.  What is known is that he had not served by 18 September 1918 when he filled out his WW1 Draft Registration. At that time he listed his age as 21, though he was in fact actually 20 years, 11 months and 1 week old on that date. [This was the 3rd set of draft registrations, as Leo had not qualified to fill out the former two, being too young].

In 1918 he was living with his parents at 27 Rolfe Street in Penacook, NH. He was working as a “machinist’s helper” on the Boston & Maine Railroad.  During WW1 there were a number of “essential services” that were considered to be military service for purposes of the draft. These deferrals were local policy for people working in shipyards, some railroad jobs, some defense plants, coal mine workers, electrical generating plant employees.  It is possible, but definitively unknown whether this was the case of Leo J. Lavoie, or whether he served in the military after September 1918.

Leo Joseph Lavoie was born 11 Sep 1897, (probably in Concord, New Hampshire like several of his siblings), son of Joseph Louis Lavoie & Dina Justina Plourde.  His siblings included: Adeline D., Patronyne Antoinette (who m. Felix Brodeur), Ida Justina (who m. Joseph Amidas Labonte), Sarah J. (who m. Charles E. Bolduc), Mary Anna (who m. Joseph Godfray Napoleon Laliberte), Alphonse J. (who d. 7 March 1928), Doria Clara, William Ephrem, Arthur, and others.   I could not find any evidence that Leo J. Lavoie married or had children.

He died July 1984 in Concord NH (According to his SSDI), and is buried in Calvary Cemetery in Penacook NH in the Lavoie family plot.

+++— Pvt. Telesphore Joseph O’Claire —+++

Telesphore O'Clair (close up from group photo)

Telesphore O’Claire (close up from group photo)

Yes, I realize the group photograph says “Dominic O’Clair,” however the only Dominic O’Clair living in Penacook was a much older man who does not fit the profile at all for this group or photograph.  After researching this family, I believe this is a photograph of Telesphore [also spelled his name Telesfore aka Albert A.] O’Claire.

Telesfore J. “Alfred” O’Claire served in Co. E., 103rd Infantry, 26th Division. 52nd Brigade, U.S. Army. He enlisted 9 June 1917 and was honorably discharged 31 January 1919. A form requesting a military marker containing this information was approved 9 June 1953.

Telesfore J. O’Claire was born on 11 May 1896 in Suncook NH, son of William & Melvina “Melissa” (Sylvestre) O’Claire. He had siblings, Olevina (who m. Joseph Guimon), William and Fred. In 1910 his parents (who were Canadian immigrants ) were living at 45 Elm Street in (Penacook) Concord, New Hampshire. His father was a carpenter and his mother and older siblings worked in the local cotton mill.

Telesfore J. O’Claire married 30 May 1925 in NH to Evelyn Mary Champagne, dau of Joseph & Harriet (Rainie) Champagne . In 1917 he was working as a mill laborer at Monadnock Mill in Claremont NH. In 1927 living in Norwalk CT a mechanic. In 1942 they were living at 14 Sullivan St., Claremont NH. In the 1950s they were living at 3 Briggs St., Claremont NH. They had a son Donald E. O’Claire  b. 5 Dec 1925 in Springfield VT and d. 26 May 1993 in Springfield VT.

Telesfore J. O’Claire died 6 June 1953. He was buried in St. Mary’s Cemetery, in Claremont, NH.

+++— Pvt. Walter Earl “Walt” Houston —+++

Walter Houston (closeup from group photo)

Walter Houston (closeup from group photo)

Walter E. Houston served in Company E., 103rd Infantry, 26th Division, U.S. Army [according to the “U.S. Adjutant General Military Records 1631-1976, 1917-1919, Volume 1” see later].

Walter E. Houston was born 29 October 1896 in Concord NH, son of Frank & Louise (Aupry/Budreau) Houston.

When he returned from the War, Walter E. Houston married 25 Dec 1919 in Franklin NH to Grace May Bartlett, dau of William Bartlett and Fannie Lafogg.   She was b. in 1901 and died in 1984.  They had children:  Virginia E., Doris Louise, Earl W., and Richard Frank.

Walter E. Houston died 14 May 1938, and is buried in Pine Grove Cemetery, in Boscawen NH.  There is both a tombstone and a military marker.
Walter E. Houston
New Hampshire
PVT 1 CL 103 INF
26 DIV
May 14, 1938
HOUSTON (front)
1896 WALTER E 1938
his wife
1901 Grace M. Bartlett 1984

P.S. [If you look closely at the photograph you can see Alice Colby listed as the photographer. Later his is lightened out because apparently she was not].


Yankee Division patch

Yankee Division patch

**Additional Reading**

– 26th Infantry Division “Yankee Division” Re-enactors | Historic Photographs of the Yankee Division

– Lane Memorial Library: History of the 26th “Yankee Division”

– (Blog) Soldiers’ Mail: The 26th “Yankee Division”

History of the Yankee Division, by Harry A. Benwell et al,

World War I Medals==============================================

U.S. Adjutant General Military Records 1631-1976
1917-1919, Volume 1
(only the Concord based military companies are listed here)

Abbott, Ernest J.
Andrews, Walter S.
Annis, Herman H.
Belair, Ovila
Bell, Herbert H.
Bill, Napoleon J.
Blake, Clarence O.
Blanchette, Napoleon
Boutwell, Forest G.
Bowhall, Carl H.
Bowler, John F.
Braley, Clyde E.
Brooks, George E.
Bryant, Harry L.
Burrows, George Jr.
Bushee, John D.
Call, Bryant B.
Campbell, Chester D.
Clark, Chester S.
Clark, Leon R.
Clarke, Hugh T.
Clough, Harr O.
Clough, Wendell A.
Cochran, Jerry E.
Cole, William H.
Columbe, Marshall J.
Constantine, Melvin L.
Covell, Gerald C.
Cowen, Levi A.*
Crockett, Homer L.
Custeau, Odilon
Cutler, Scott A.
Daniels, Frank W.
Davis, Leonard F.
Derby, Walter T.
Devoid, Ernest L.
Devoid, Fordyce H.
Dow, Henry H.
Dow, Willis C.
Drew, Irving J.
Drew, Leo S.
Drew, Wendell F.
Drown, Leslie W.
Dyment, Willis S.
Emerson, Frank D.
Farley, Irving J.
Fernald, Harold B.
Fiske, Benjamin N.
Ford, Israel E.
Ford, Joseph D.
Fullert, Carl R.
Gale, Albert C
Galnett, Sherman E.
Giddis, William J.
Glansville, Manley A.
Glines, Charlie E.
Gouin, WAlter G.
Greene, Wilbur J.
Hadley, Frank W.
Haley, Max G.
Hardy, Adelard
Hayes, Grover C.
Heath, Charles E.
Hewey, Harry D.
Howard, Leon I.
Humphrey, Leo D.
Jackson, Andrew
Jackson, William M.
Jones, Edward T.
Kahill, Mishel
Kelton, Edward L.
Kelton, Victor A.
Knights, Henry A.
Lacasse, Oliver J.
Lamarre, Eugene E.
Lara, Clifford A.
Laro, Thomas
Lear, George W.
McGettrick, Herbert P.
McNab, Robert E.
Maheu, Thomas J.
Mahoney, Everett S.
Marquis, Tellie
Martel, Joseph A.
Martin, Addison N.
Matott, Faber F.
Miller, Edgar C.
Mudgett, Harold H.
Mullen, Harry E.
Nisbet, Ernest
Ordway, Earl R.
Parkhurst, George W.
Pennock, Raymond
Preble, Irving L.
Rempapos, Christopher
Reynolds, Gurney W.
Ricard, Leo A.
Robertson, Charles W.
Robinson, William H.
Rollins, Edward J.
Russell, Lewis T.
Savage, Charles E.
Seaver, George
Severance, David C.
Simoneau, Ernest J.
Smith, Erle H.
Smith, Ernest J.
Smith, Joseph N.
Smith, Patrick J.
Smith, Walter L.
Stickney, Maurice R.
Tanzi, Angelo N.
Thompson, Guy B.
Tilton, Charles W.
Truchon, Joseph A.
True, Wilfred
Tufts, Harry W.
Turgeon, Ralph A.
Weller, Fred C.
Whiteman, Frank C.
Williams, Houghton D.
Wilson, Carl
Wilson, Harry A.
Anderson, Ernest E.
Ash, William S.
Bagley, Arthur E.
Barber, Herbert L.
Bassett, Mitchell
Bemis, Frank O.
Berg, August W.
Bickford, Fred O.
Briggs, George O.
Brodeau, Sylvester
Buckley, Guy R.
Byrne, Joseph D.
Caldon, Herbert F.
Calef, Leon S.
Carlisle, Raymond
Carlson, Walter S.
Caswell, William E.
Clattenburg, James A.
Connolly, Walter P.
Daige, Dean J.
Dawson, Alexander
Deragon, Louis
Downing, Charles J.
Drapeau, Napoleon
Dustin, John A.
Dwinalls, Benjamin
Eastman, Percy C.
Ekholm, Ernest A.
Elliot, George S.
Ellis, Ernest E.
Ellis, Lloyd F.
Fitts, John L.
Floryk, Frank
Ford, Wyman W.
Gauthier, Henry A.
Gilmartin, Augustine F.
Gray, Lyman H.
Greenly, Warren L.
Gregg, Guy H.
Guilmette, Almedas J.
Guyer, Arthur G.
Guyette, Joseph N.
Hale, Ernest B.
Hamel, Paul
Hardy, Lawrence
Harlan, Nicholas
Harrington, Arthur W.
Hildreth, William E.
Hodgeman, Edward B.
Houston, Walter
Jacques, Frank J.
James, Alonzo A.
Jesseman, Arthur F.
Johnson, Earl H.
Jones, Harold L.
Jordan, James H.
Keenan, Andrew J.
Ketchum, Henry J.
Ketchum, John C.
Ketchum, Victor H.
LaBeau, Charles A
Laduke, David F.
LaMay, Victor W.
Lamott, Owen B.
Landry, William R.
LaPlante, Ernest
Lavisque, Thomas
Lockwood, Dean B.
Lynch, William D.
Magee, Leon N.
Merrill, Harry C.
Mills, Ora
Miner, Leo
Morrill, Archie H.
Morrill, William B.
Muzzy, Herbert F.
Nichols, Stephen
Notter, Steven F.
Oclaire, Telesphore J.
O’Donnell, Michael P.
Payson, Charles H.
Pike, Lawrence H.
Piper, Walter F.
Plankey, Elmer
Quimby, George W.
Quimby, John E.
Robbins, Edward A.
Rodier, Louis
Rogers, Eugene S.
Ryder, George A.
Scott, Earl F.
Scott, Ralph W.
Shaw, Arthur E.
Shepard, Albert J.
Simondeau, Joseph L.T.
Stevens, Herbert H.
Sullivan, Frank J.
Tallman, Lucius S.
Tanner, Charles E.
Thompson, Roland F.
Turner, Charles H.
Veno, Irving
Walker, Maurice C.
Walker, Walter L.
Webster, Earl A.
Welch, Jack
Wentworth, Edgar A.
Whitcomb, Melvin M.
Whiteman, Leslie G.
Wier, Edwin H.
Wildes, Edmund
Wilkins, Jasper
Williams, Wallace H.
Wilmot, Harry J.
Wilson, Alexander E.
Woods, Almon G.
Wormhood, Clifton
Wright, William L.


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14 Responses to Military of New Hampshire: The PENACOOK BRIGADE in World War 1

  1. Amy says:

    When I read this and realized how relatively recently so many of these men died, it made me realize how many stories we will never know—about their service and their lives—in any detail. This is a great tribute, and it shows how many people in a small town were affected by WWI.

    • Janice Brown says:

      Amy, I agree. Many stories we will never know. In June my entire month will be dedicated to NH people whose war stories needed to be told, including two women. Someone needs to remember them.

  2. What a great tribute you have written to honor those men. i can’t even imagine how long it took to do this write up and find the information. I can’t even find info on one person sometimes and look at all you did. I do think that the info was better preserved in the newspapers in the North vs the South. In Green Co., Ga. they still have not digitized the local newspapers in Greensboro and boy would I love to scroll through them. They are all on reels by the fiche machine in the tax office. They showed me where last time I was there and I just looked at where I’d be crammed all in and said I’ll come back another day. If I lived there, I could spend many an afternoon there, but I’m not so….. I need to work on getting some locals involved in that.. Hmmm and reap the benefits. But back to your post – Thank You for honoring those boys. They gave their all for us.

    • Janice Brown says:

      Thank you Jeanne. I credit Ruth Speed of Penacook NH who showed the photograph to me. Her love of history is contagious. A photograph is a beautiful thing to have, but once the story behind it is revealed, it is a treasure. At least that is how I look at it. Some people need to be remembered.

  3. Pingback: New Hampshire World War I Military: Heroes of The Great War | Cow Hampshire

  4. Pingback: World War I Memorials in Concord New Hampshire | Cow Hampshire

  5. Psul J Ballard says:

    I’m very pleased to see this photo and the accompanying research. My grandmother was Maude Guyette. She was the sister of Joe and the wife of Charles LaBeau, both of whom are in the photo.
    I remember my grandfather, but Great Uncle Joe was killed decades before my birth in Concord.
    There is a story in our family about Joe’s death that has been told and retold over the generations.
    Both my grandfather and great uncle were each given written messages by their officers to deliver to each other’s battle positions at the same time in France.
    They met each other midway between their respective locations.
    As they met, they realized their destinations, and agreed to swap messages to shorten each other’s assignments.
    Joe was killed returning to his battle position and my grandfather returned safely to his.
    I don’t have any written document to support this story, only childhood memories of a fascinating story that led a young boy to wonder what life would have been if these two young men had not met on that battlefield generations ago.
    Thanks for helping to bring back a childhood memory that always intrigued me.

  6. Bonnie Ladd says:

    My grandfather was Leon Nelson Magee and his picture is not him. His picture is under Sylvester Brodeur’s. Looks like the pictures were mixed up.

  7. Pingback: New Hampshire World War I Military: Heroes of Concord | Cow Hampshire

  8. Patricia Riel says:

    I have documentation of Walter Houston enlistment 5/1/1917, Private 1st Class; a Western Union telegram stating that he was severely wounded in battle on July 18,1918; and a copy of a letter dated Dec 16,1932 from the Quartermaster General notifying him that a Purple Heart was issued to him for his wound on July 18. He served overseas from Sept 24,1917 to March 23,1919 and was honorably discharged April 4,1919, Camp Devens Mass. I am his granddaughter Patricia Riel. My mother Virginia was his firstborn.

  9. Pingback: New Hampshire Focus: World War One’s 100th Anniversary in 2017 | Cow Hampshire

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