WW2 Captured at Bataan, Philippines, Died A POW: Somersworth New Hampshire’s Lt. Col. Joseph Albert Sullivan (1895-1942)

Lieut. Col. Joseph Albert Sullivan (1895-1942)

Lieut. Col. Joseph Albert Sullivan (1895-1942)

Joseph Albert Sullivan was born in Somersworth, Strafford County, New Hampshire in 1895 to Dennis & Lizzie (Casey) Sullivan. His father worked as a barber, and his grandparents on both sides were Irish.

He grew up and attended school in the towns of Somersworth and Dover, and graduated from New Hampshire State College (now UNH) in 1916, with an agricultural degree. His college yearbook shows he went by the nickname “Joe,” played football in his first two years, was range officer and captain of the school’s cadet program in his 3rd year, and student council president and a member of the dramatic club in his 4th year.

1917 College yearbook listing for Joseph A. Sullivan.

1917 College yearbook listing for Joseph A. Sullivan.

At the time of filling out his WW1 draft (1917) registration card he was living at 10 Lincoln St., Dover NH, and working as a dairy expert for H.P. Hood & Co. of W. Lynn MA. A newspaper article states that when the United States declared War on Germany, Joseph enlisted as a private, and “held the rank of lieutenant when the Armistice was signed. He remained with the regular army located at various times in Oklahoma and Minnesota.” The U.S. Army Register indicates that he graduated from the Field Artillery School, Battery Officer’s Course, and that he completed an Advanced Motors Course.

10 July 1921 wedding KYOn 6 Jul 1921, he married Mary Ewing Parks in Jackson, Jackson County, Michigan. They had three sons, Joseph, Robert, and Donald who were born in Washington DC, Oklahoma, and Minnesota, respectively. In 1935 they were living in Minneapolis MN. In the 1940 US Census he was stationed (and the family was living) at Fort Lewis, in Pierce Co.,  Washington state.

On 7 December 1941 the Japanese bombed the American fleet in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and war was declared. In January of 1942 he was sent to Bataan in the Philippines, and received a commission of Lieutenant Colonel effective 21 March 1942.

The Battle of Bataan ended on April 9, 1942, when Army Major General Edward P. King surrendered to Japanese General Masaharu Homma. About 12,000 Americans and 63,000 Filipinos became prisoners of war, including Joseph Albert Sullivan.

Lieut Col. Joseph A. Sullivan was reported to have died on 12 Nov 1942 either aboard a Japanese Hell Ship en route to Davao on Mindanao, or actually at the Davao Prisoner of War camp, where he appears on the roster of inmates. He is buried in the Manila American Cemetery, Fort Andres Bonifacio (formerly Fort William McKinley), plot H, row 1, grave 108.  We should not forget him, nor his ultimate sacrifice.

****GENEALOGY OF Lieut. Col. Joseph Albert Sullivan****

Jeremiah Sullivan, son of Dennis & Joana (Farley) Sullivan, b. 27 March 1848 in Baurgorm, parish of Bantry, County Cork, Ireland, d. 10 July 1903 in Somersworth NH. He m. 6 Feb 1870 in Ireland to Mary Hourihan(e), daughter of Cornelius & Mary Hourihan. She b. 1844 in Ireland, and d. 26 October 1932 in Somersworth NH. Occupation at birth of son Dennis, “railroading.” They are buried at St. Patrick’s Cemetery in Rollinsford NH [per both their death records] [See additional family]
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1880 US Census > NH > Strafford > Somersworth
Jeremiah Sullivan self M 37 Ireland Ire Ire Laborer
Mary Sullivan F 36 Ireland Ire Ire
Hannah Sullivan dau F 8 NH
Dennis Sullivan son M 7 NH
Mary Sullivan dau F 6 NH
Timothy Sullivan son M 3 NH
Daniel Sullivan son M 0 NH
Betsey Sullivan other F 28 Ireland
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Children of Jeremiah & Mary (Hourihan) Sullivan:
1. Hannah Elizabeth Sullivan, b 30 Sep 1871 NH; m. Patrick James Fitzgerald
2. +Dennis Edward Sullivan, b. 13 Jan 1872 Somersworth NH
3. Mary Frances Sullivan, b. 22 Oct 1875 NH; m. Adam Leroy Guptill
4. Timothy Joseph Sullivan, b. 16 May 1877 NH; d. 29 June 1947 NH
5. Daniel Francis Sullivan, b 25 Oct 1879 NH; m. Mary Melanie Wimpfheimer
6. John Sullivan, b abt 1881, no more info
7. James Leo Sullivan, b. 28 Aug 1885 NH, d. 21 March 1991; m. Eva Turcotte

Dennis Edward Sullivan, son of Jeremiah “Jerry” & Mary (Hourihan) Sullivan, b. 13 Jan 1872 Somersworth NH d 30 May 1938 in Dover NH; m. 16 January 1894 in Somersworth NH to Elizabeth “Lizzie” Casey, daughter of Patrick & Kate (Joyce) Casey. She b. June 1872 Newmarket NH, and d. 2 March 1955 in NH. In 1942 she was a widow living in Rochester NH. His occupation was barber.
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1900 US Census > NH > Strafford > Somersworth > 12 South Street (multiple families)
Dennis Sullivan 27 Head M Nov 1872 married 6 yrs NH NY Ireland Barber
Lizzie Sullivan 27 wife July 1872 m 6 yrs 2 ch 2 living NH Ire NY
Joseph Sullivan 4 son Aug 1895 single NH NH NH
Edward Sullivan 1 son Sept 1898 1 single NH NH NH
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1910 US Census > NH > Strafford > Dover
Dennis Sullivan 37
Elizabeth Sullivan 37
Joseph Sullivan 14
Edward Sullivan 11
Phillip Sullivan 3
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Children of Dennis E. & Elizabeth (Casey) Sullivan:
1. +Lt. Col. Joseph Albert Sullivan, b. 22 August 1895 Somersworth NH, d. 11 November 1942.
2. Daniel Edward Sullivan, b. 4 Sep 1898 Somersworth NH; resided Chicago IL. In 1935 he listed his birth year as 1900, working for Chicago North Western RR at the Chicago Terminal, Trucker residing 920 Lawrence St. Chicago IL.   He married by 1940 to Ardelle –.  She was b. abt 1890 in Indiana.
3. Jeremiah D. Sullivan, b. 28 Sep 1903 in Somersworth NH, d. 24 Dec 1903 age 2 months, 22 days of pneumonia
4. Philip Sullivan, b. abt 1907 NH; resided CT

Lt. Col. Joseph Albert Sullivan [this story is about him, see photo and biography above], son of Dennis E. & Elizabeth (Casey) Sullivan, b. 22 August 1895 Somersworth NH, d. 11 November 1942. He m. 6 July 1921 in Jackson, Michigan to Mary Ewing Parks, dau of Robert Milton & Mary Lillian (Moorman) Parks. She was b. 4 Feb 1898 in Richmond, KY and d. 5 Aug 1973 in Pasadena, California. She is buried in Pacific View Memorial Park, Newport Beach California. In June of 1942 while stationed on the Bataan peninsula, serving in the Quartermaster Corps he was captured, and died as a prisoner of war. He is buried at the Manila American Cemetery.  [See additional family]
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1940 US Census > Washington > Pierce > Fort Lewis
[living in Minneapolis MN in 1935]
Joseph A. Sullivan 45 Virginia [incorrect on census]
Mary P. Sullivan 42 Kentucky
Joseph A. Sullivan Jr. 17 Washington DC
Robert P. Sullivan 13 Oklahoma
Donald P. Sullivan 2 Minnesota
Rose M. Heck 32 maid North Dakota
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11 June 1921 Kentucky Irish American (Louisville KY)
Robert Moorman Parks announces the engagement of his sister, Miss Mary Ewing, to Lieut. Joseph Albert Sullivan, of the Sixth Field Artillery now stationed at Camp Dix, N.J. The wedding will take place next month.
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Sunday, 10 July 1921, The Courier-Journal (Louisville KY), p. 17 [so married 6 July 1921]
The wedding of Miss Mary Ewing Parks, Louisville and Lieut. Joseph Albert Sullivan of the Sixth Field Artillery, took place Wednesday at the home of the bride’s sister, Mrs. Robert Brown Bell, in Jackson, Mich., in the presence of the immediate family and a few intimate friends. The bride entered on the arm of her brother, Mr. Robert Moorman Parks, New York and Louisville, by whom she was given in marriage. There were no attendants. The ceremony was performed by the Rev. S.A. Griffith of the First Presbyterian Church. The bride wore a frock of white organdle, trimmed with real lace, which is a family heirloom, and a white hat. Her bouquet was of Ophelia roses and she carried the handkerchief which was carried by her mother at her wedding. Mrs. Belle wore lavender organdie. The house was decorated in pink gladiolas and Shasta daisies. After an informal luncheon, Lieut. Sullivan and Mrs. Sullivan left for Evans Lake, Mich. After August 1st they will be at home at Edgewood, Md., where Lieutenant Sullivan is stationed.
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The Portsmouth Herald (Portsmouth NH) 17 June 1943, page 1
Lt. Col. Joseph A. Sullivan, 47, son of Mrs. Elizabeth Sullivan of Rochester, has been reported dead in a Japanese prison camp, according to work received yesterday by his mother from the War department. The notice of his death was transmitted to the War department by the Japanese government, acting through the International Red Cross. Colonel Sullivan has been held prisoner of war since the fall of Bataan. The War department notified Mrs. Sullivan on June 17 last year that her son was missing in action. It was explained at the time that confusing circumstances  (page 8cont from page one)
made it impossible to determine his fate. Born in Somersworth, Colonel Sullivan lived for several years in Dover. He was graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 1916, and the next year, when the United States declared war upon Germany, enlisted as a private. He held the rank of lieutenant when the Armistice was signed. He remained with the regular army located at various times in Manila, Oklahoma and Minnesota. Mrs. Sullivan received a letter from her son in January 1942, from San Francisco, saying that he was waiting within an hour under sealed orders. The next information received came from his wife, stating that Colonel Sullivan had arrived on Bataan. Mrs. Sullivan has not seen her son since he was last in Rochester, about six years ago. One of her cherished possessions is a copy of his commission as a lieutenant colonel, effective March 21, 1942, shorlty before the fall of Bataan. She received a copy from the War department, which mailed it with the explanation that it was for “safe keeping” in view of the fact that the status and present station of Lt. Col. Joseph A. Sullivan, QMC, is uncertain.” Besides his mother, Colonel Sullivan leaves his wife and three sons, Joseph, Robert and Donald, living in San Francisco, and two brothers, Edward Sullivan of Chicago and Philip Sullivan of Connecticut.
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28 April 1948, Wednesday: The Bakersfield California, Bakersfield CA
Wheeler-Sullivan Betrothal
Dr. and Mrs. Collister Wheeler, of Portland, Ore., announce the engagement of their daughter, Miss Mary Carolyn Wheeler, to Robert Parks Sullivan, the son of Mrs. Joseph Sullivan and the late Colonel Sullivan. The bethrothal was made known to Sigma Kappa sorority sisters of the bride-elect at a smartly arranged function at Seattle Tennis Club, recently. Mr. Sullivan, former resident of Bakersfield, and nephew of Mr. and Mrs. Lafayette Banes, 224 Pacific street, is a member of the Alpha Tau fraternity. The wedding will be celebrated next spring following Mr. Sullivan’s graduation from University of Washington. Mrs. Sullivan is planning to return to Bakersfield to make her home, in June. Her husband, the late Colonel Sullivan, was one of the heroes of the last World War who lost his life as a prisoner of the Japanese on the Philippines in 1942.
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12 March 1955, The Bakersfield California: Popular Resident to Bid Bakersfield Adieu
Balboa-Bound to make her home is Mrs. Mary P. Sullivan, 236 Quincy St. Mary, a long-time resident of Bakersfield and a sister of Louise Parks Banes, head of the order department for Kern County Free Library, has arranged to occupy her new home at 306 Ruby St. on Balboa Island the early part of April. Mary has been an ardent Community Theater worker in every facet of the drama from footlights to painting scenery. She current is cast in “Family Portrait.” Active in St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, she has been a board member and was for several terms president of the Episcopal Southern Deanery. As a member of the Woman’s Club of Bakersfield, she was a charter member of the club’s fine choral section, and has added much to club enterprises during commentary at fashion shows. During the war years, she was active in Minter Field Officers Wives Club. Her husband was the late Col. Joseph A. Sullivan. Mary’s family includes Joe, living at Ventura; Bob, who has just finished a tour of duty at Quajalein and is now stationed at Barber’s Point, Hawaii, until October, when he will join his mother in Balboa, and Don who expected to be graduated in June from East Bakersfield High School.
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Children of Joseph A. & Mary E. (Parks) Sullivan:
1. Joseph A. Sullivan, Jr., b 28 Feb 1923 Washington DC; d. 22 Feb 1988 in Ventura, California. He is buried in Ivy Lawn Memorial Park, Ventura California
2. Robert Parks Sullivan, b. 3 Nov 1926 OK, d. 3 May 2010 Fort Myers FL. Buried Fort Myers Memorial Gardens
3. Rev. Donald Parks Sullivan, b 20 June 1937 in Hennepin Co., MN; resided Healdsburg CA; d. 2013

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