First Portsmouth New Hampshire Casualty of World War 1: Lieutenant Frank Booma (1893-1918)

Likeness of Frank Booma, from the Boston Globe newspaper of 2 September 1917.

Likeness of Frank Booma, from the Boston Globe newspaper of 2 September 1917.

Lieutenant Frank Booma died on July 11, 1918 in the Champagne region of France, during World War 1. He was killed by a bomb dropped from a Boche aeroplane, as he led his men a second time into the trenches, after a period of rest behind the lines. He was 24 years old.

He had come close to death at the age of three. The Boston Herald announced, on April 20, 1896: “Portsmouth, N.H. April 19 (the previous day). Frank E. Booma was riding a bicycle on a wharf this afternoon when the wheel took a sudden turn and went into the river. Young Booma could not swim, and was about to sink for the last time when Christopher Killenbeck jumped into the water and saved him.”

Portsmouth New Hampshire High School in 1911

Portsmouth New Hampshire High School in 1911

Frank Booma was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, attended the local schools and graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1911. He went on to attend New Hampshire State College (later renamed the University of New Hampshire). He excelled in more than one sport, being named captain of several athletic teams. He was well-liked for his energy, enthusiasm and friendliness.

While a student in college he entered the officer’s training camp at Plattsburg, NY and was successful in his military studies. “He was commissioned a lieutenant in August, 1917, and was one of the first of the newly appointed officers to volunteer for overseas duty.” He was attached to Battery A of the 151st Division field artillery.

His obituary, courtesy of the Charlotte Thompson Collection, University of New Hampshire Library states in part, “[Lt. Booma] met his death as a soldier while performing his duties. He, together with several others, were victims of a German air raid. Bombs were dropped and the result was that your brother and his companions laid down their lives….His death was mourned and is still being mourned. He was laid to rest by gentle hands and with military honors. All was done that could be done to honor him.

Photograph of Frank Booma, from the Charlotte Thompson Collection, Manuscripts and Institution Archives, Milne Special Collections and Archives Department, UNH. Used with written permission of University of New Hampshire Library, Durham, NH.

Photograph of Frank Booma, from the Charlotte Thompson Collection, Manuscripts and Institution Archives,
Milne Special Collections and Archives Department, UNH. Used with written permission of University of New Hampshire Library, Durham, NH.

After his death ….
In February of 1919 it was announced that the Portsmouth NH High school class of 1911 would be presenting a portrait of that class president, the late Lieut. Frank Booma to the school.

In April of 1919, the Portsmouth Herald announced that during Arbor Day ceremonies, New Hampshire College (Durham NH) representatives set out a grove of rock maple trees to honor those from the school who died in the War, including one planted in memory of Lieut. Frank Booma. Exercises were held, and songs sung by the student body. Twenty three trees were planted.

In June of 1919 a group of local veterans met at the Portsmouth Elks home, and formed a Portsmouth post of the American Legion of the World War. According to the Portsmouth Herald of June 3rd, there were fifty-five men present, and they voted to adopt the name of the Frank Booma Post of the American Legion, in honor of Lieutenant Frank Booma. The charter was left open so that all men who took part in the war could become members. The following officers were elected: Post Commander — Sergt. Jeremy R. Waldron; Video Commander – Lieut Edward J. Neville; Post Adjutant – Sergt. Arthur L. McCaffery; Finance Officer – Private Charles H. Walker.

On November 11, 1919 when the first anniversary of Armistice Day was observed, the Frank Booma Post was greatly involved. “The spirit of the rejoicing is being most generally observed in this city.”

His Funeral
According to a Wall Street Journal Article, “How We Bury the War Dead” [May 29, 2010,] “When World War I ended, the families of 43,909 dead troops asked for their remains to be brought back to the U.S. by boat, while roughly 20,000 chose to have the bodies remain in Europe. The war ended in 1918, but the first bodies of troops killed in the conflict weren’t sent back to the U.S. until 1921.”

This would explain why Frank Booma’s funeral was held more than 3 years after his death, on September 25, 1921 from Portsmouth’s North Church. The funeral was described as “never was there a more impressive or larger attended funeral in this city. It was a military funeral, with Frank Booma’s flag-draped remains first laying in state in the city Armory. The Frank Booma Post of the American Legion was greatly involved in arranging the events, and every group and city department was representative in some way. He was buried with military honors, a gun salute, and the sounds of taps before he was placed in the family plot at Harmony Grove.

For many years after his death, his mother, and other family members would donate flowers for the North Church’s pulpit in memory of Frank. The Frank E. Booma American Legion Post 6 held a re-dedication ceremony at the Post in Portsmouth on Saturday, August 9, 2008.

===BOOMA FAMILY GENEALOGY===

[Ancestry of the Beaumier Family in Canada]

Francois Xavier “Francis” Beaumier/Booma, son of Francois & Madeleine (Pepin) Beaumier, b. 9 Sep 1798, d. 2 May 1869. He married 4 Nov 1817 at La Nativite, Becancour, Nicolet PQ Canada to Charlotte Floul/Houle, dau of Gervais & Marie (Doiron) Houle. She b. abt 1792 and d. 1 July 1871.
————————
Hale Collection of Cemetery Inscriptions
Fountain Hill Cemetery, Summit Section, Saybrook Connecticut
Booma, Henry L., died Sept. 24, 1852
Booma, R. Sibley, b. April 2, 1860, died June 19, 1916
Booma, William F. born Aug. 24, 1855, died June 2, 1893
Booma, Mary A. Parker, wife of Newell, born May 19, 1832, died Oct 15, 1922
Booma, Newell, born Dec 25, 1829, died March 15, 1904
Booma, Charles H., son of Francis & Betsey, died July 7, 1881, age 24 years
Booma, Henry N. son of Francis & Betsey, died Aug 22, 1847, age 2 years
Booma, Francis, died Aug, 28, 1871, age 52 years
————————
Children of Francis & Charlotte (Floul/Houle) Beamier/Booma.
1. +Francois “Francis” Beaumier/Booma, Jr., b. 24 April 1819 [NEHGS database]; removed to Connecticut
2. Noel/Newell Beaumier/Booma, ?b. abt Dec 1824 NH, baptized 1826 Three Rivers, Quebec [Immaulee-Conception Cathedral of the Assumption], and d. 15 March 1904 in CT, buried Saybrook CT. He married at Saybrook CT on 25 October 1851 to Mary Ann Parker, daughter of David & Sarah (Morse) Parker. Children: Henry b abt 1853 CT, Wiley/Willie/William Y. Booma, b abt 1857 CT, Sibley R, b. abt 1860 CT. In 1880 working in Piano Key factory; 1900 Census says b Dec 1829, occupation Raftsman.
3. Delima Beaumier, b. abt 1826, m. 29 Nov 1847 in Becancour, Nicolet PQ to David Levasseur, son of Modeste-Bonhomme & Marguerite (Doucet) Levasseur. Had issue.

Francis Booma/Beaumier/Boomier, Jr., son of Francis Booma, b 24 April 1819 in Canada. He died 28 Aug 1871 in Saybrook CT, age 52. He married 17 Aug 1840 in Littleton NH to Betsey B.Parker, possibly dau or grand-daughter of Jonathan & Betsy Parker of Whitefield NH. She was b abt 1822 in Lancaster Coos Co. NH and died after 1910 [shown in Saybrook CT census that year]. [His marriage rec shows surname “Boomier”]
—————
1820 Eben Parker > Bartlett > Coos Co NH
1820 Jonathan Parker > Bartlett, Coos Co NH
1820 Jonathan Parker > Whitefield, Coos Co NH*
1820 Luie Parker > Bartlett Coos Co NH
—————
1850 US Census > CT > Hartford > Enfield
John P. Moffitt 31 M Farmer NY
Eliza A. Basllen 43 F 3000 CT
Luma Ann Basllen 19 F CT
Josephine Basllen 14 F CT
Joseph Basslen 15 M Farmer CT
Geo G. Moffitt 5 M CT
Lynus Parmile 40 M Farmer CT
Betsey B. Booma 28 F NH
Mary M. Booma 9 F CT [b abt 1841 CT]
Newell Booma 22 M Sawyer Canada [b abt 1828 Canada]
—————
1870 US Census > CT > Middlesex > Saybrook
Booma, Francis 50 M W Sawyer 1500 Canada
Booma, Betsey 48 F W Keeping House NH
Booma, Charles 12 M W at home CT
Booma, Frank 10 M W at home CT
———————–
Connecticut, Hales Cemetery Inscriptions
Booma, Henry L., died Sept. 24, 1852
Booma, R. Sibley, born April 2, 1860, died June 19, 1916
Booma, William F., born Aug 24, 1855, died June 2, 1893
Booma, Mary A. Parker, wife of Newell, born May 19, 1832, died Oct 15, 1922
Booma, Newell, born Dec. 25, 1829, died March 15, 1904
Booma, Charles H. son of Francis & Betsey, died July 7, 1881, aged 24 years
Booma, Henry N. son of Francis & Betsey, died Aug. 22, 1847, age 2 yrs
Booma, Francis, died Aug 28, 1871, age 52 years.
————————
1910 US Census > CT > Middlesex > Saybrook
Pratt, Mary Head F W 67 Widow 5 ch 4 living NH CT CT
Pratt, Archie son M W 45 single CT CT NH
Pratt, Nordahl/Hordalh son M W 43 single CT
Pratt, Harry son M W 39 single CT
Booma, Betsey mother F W 88 widow 4 ch 2 living NH NY NH
Peck, Hazel, niece F W 18 single NY CT CT
————————
Children of Francis & Betsey (Parker) Booma:
1. Mary M. Booma, b abt 1841 CT; m. 4 October 1863 to Egbert C.Pratt; had sons Archie, Nordahl and Harry
2. Charles Hiram Booma, b. abt 1858 CT; died 7 July 1881 in Providence, Providence Co. Rhode Island, age 23. [his death records states father is Francis Booma Jr.]
3. +Frank Everett Booma, b. Aug 1859 CT

Frank Everett Booma, son of Francis & Betsey Booma b. Aug 1859 Deep River CT; He m. 20 Nov 1880 at Lancaster NH to Martha W.S. “Mattie” Field, dau of John E. & Eliza M.(Weeks) Field. She was b. Jan 1862 in Lancaster NH, and died 29 April 1949 at Portsmouth NH. At the time of his marriage both were living in Lancaster NH, his occupation printer.
—————————-
THE NEW HAMPSHIRE, Vol 10, Number 21, Durham NH, March 23, 1921
–FOUR-YEAR MEN–
Lieutenant Frank Booma, ’20, of Portsmouth; member of Kappa Sigma; affectionately called “Dad” by his college mates; older than his classmates, because after his graduation from high school he worked for four years before entering college; worked during all his spare time, for he had the responsibility of not only putting himself through college, but also of supporting his widowed mother. He had the faculty of putting his whole heart and soul into everything he undertook; a splendid athlete; killed by a bomb dropped from a Boche aeroplane, as he led his men a second time into the trenches, after a period of rest behind the lines.
—————————-
1900 US Census > NH > Rockingham > Portsmouth
Frank E. Booma M 41 CT, Aug 1859 CT CT CT Pressman
Martha Booma wife F 38 NH Jan 1862 married 19 yrs 7 ch 6 living NH NH NH
Scott Booma son M 17 NH Oct 1882 NH CT NH
Leta Booma dau F 11 NH Jan 1889
Bernice Booma dau F 8 NH Aug 1892
*Frank Booma son M 6 NH Jan 1893
Flossie Booma dau F 6 NH Sept 1894
Irene Booma dau F 3 NH Jan 1897
————————–
1. Scott Clayton Booma, b. 17 Oct 1882 Lancaster NH; He m1) 28 May 1902 in Portsmouth NH to Mary M. Monahan, dau of James L. & Catherine (Sullivan) Monahan. He m2) 18 Jan 1906 in Milton Mills NH to Annie May Stevens, dau of Freeman E. & Sarah E. (Howe) Stevens, daughter of Freeman E. & Lizzie (Howe) Stevens. She died 29 April 1945 in Portsmouth NH. He was a shoemaker.
2. Leta/Leeta V. Booma, b Jan 1889 NH [poss 28 Jan 1888 Lancaster, Coos Co NH]; she married Irving Rintz of Portsmouth NH.He was b. 12 Nov 1883 in NY and d. Aug 1982 in Cheshire Co. NH; resided 294 Pleasant St. Portsmouth Rock NH in 1918. Their daughter, Irma Leslie Rintz was b. c1907 in Portsmouth NH and m. 17 Feb 1934 in Manhattan NY to Henry K. Michel, son of Killian & Caroline (Glock) Michel.
3. Bernice Bradford Booma, b Aug 1892 NH; m. 25 Nov 1908 in Newburyport MA to Morris John Lenney, son of John & Caroline (Parker) Lenney. He was b abt 1886 in Warren Ohio.
4. *Frank Booma, b. 24 January 1893 Portsmouth NH; in 1917 at the time of his draft registration he was living at 240 Middle Street, Portsmouth NH. This story is about him, see info at top. [See additional story about him]
5. Florence E. “Flossie” Booma b 10 Sep 1894 NH; she married 1) 11 June 1913 in Boston MA to John D. Thompson, son of William H. & Mary (Sheedy) Thompson. He was b. abt 1887 in New Haven CT; she married as a widow 2nd) 19 July 1927 in Portsmouth NH to Thomas E. Collins, son of Thomas E. & Mary A. (Walsh) Collins.
6. Irene Frances Booma b Jan 1897 Portsmouth NH, d. 12 Dec 1953 in Portsmouth NH; m. 5 Apr 1918 in Portsmouth NH to Jackson Livingston Cannell, son of Herbert Livingston & Adalaid Melissa (Greenwood) Cannell. He was b. at Everett MA. At the time of theirmarriage he was in the US Naval Reserves
7. daughter Booma, b. 28 July 1899 Portsmouth NH, born dead.

***ADDITIONAL READING***

TUFTS FAMILY GENEALOGY: Frank Booma, UNH Student and World War I Casualty

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3 Responses to First Portsmouth New Hampshire Casualty of World War 1: Lieutenant Frank Booma (1893-1918)

  1. Amy says:

    Very sad. For every person killed in war, I always think of what their lives would have been like—what would they have accomplished, how much love would they have given, what would their children have been like.

    Just getting back into the blogosphere and trying to catch up!

  2. Pingback: New Hampshire’s 2016 Memorial Day | Cow Hampshire

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