Earle Dexter Farley was born on 1 January 1896 in Nashua New Hampshire to Charles J. & Ella F. (Pierce) Farley. He was the first born, his father was a fireman on the railroad and they lived at 40 Amherst Street.
Earle grew up in Nashua, attending local schools. By 1910 he had gone to live with his grandparents, Isaac W. & Lucy A. (Blood ) Pierce. His grandfather was a gardener, and so when he finished his schooling, Earle’s ambition was to run his own florist and landscaping company.
Instead, World War I, then known as the World War, had begun and the United States was drawn into the fray. In September of 1918 he was on his way with Co. I, 103rd Infantry. Everything changed. Earle would soon be dead.
Besides his photograph, we know a bit more from Earle D. Farley’s World War Registration form. He filled this out on June 5, 1917, stating that he was tall, of medium build, with dark brown hair and blue eyes.
The Nashua Telegraph Newspaper of October 14, 1918 read: FARLEY KILLED IN ACTION
Co. I Boy in Battle on Sept. 20. “Charles J. Farley, 173 East Hollis Street received a telegram from Washington late Saturday afternoon, stating that his son, Earle D. Farley had been officially reported as killed in action Sept 20. Private Farley was born in this city, Jan 1st 1896. He was educated at the public schools and afterward took up for his work as florist and landscape gardener. At the time of his enlistment in May 1916, he was employed by Col W.D. Swart at his home on Concord Street. He enlisted in Co. I of this city on July 27 and went into camp at Concord on August 22. He was transferred with his company to Westfield, Mass., where they were known as Co. I, 103rd Inf., and on Sept 25 he embarked for France where he had seen active service at the front since early spring. His last letter to his father was dated Sept 5th, when he was enjoying the best of health. He was a member of the First Congregational Church and a member of Gen. Albert Wheeler’s Sunday School class. Besides his father, he leaves two grand-parents, Mrs. and Mrs. I.W. Pierce, 121 Walnut Street, a mother Ella P. Dunlop, Richmond Hill, Ontario, two half sisters of Richmond Hill, Ontario, and two uncles, W.E. Pierce of Stockton, Cal., and Frank L. Farley of Hollis.”
Like the other American soldiers who died in France, he was at first buried there. A family member must have requested his remains return, for in 1921 he was reburied in his family’s plot.
July 18, 1921. Nashua Telegraph newspaper. BODY OF PVT. EARL D. FARLEY AT HOBOKEN PIER. A telegram from the War departmet to Charles J. Farley announced the arrival of his son’s body at Hoboken, Sunday. Earl Dexter Farley was born Jan 1, 1896, a son of Charles J. & Ella F. (Dunlop) Farley. He enlisted in Co. I, and went overseas with the 103rd regiment as a first class private. He was killed in action at Saulx En Wolvere Sept. 20, 1918. He was a member of the First Congregational Church of this city where services will be held upon the arrival of the body. Besides his father he is survived by his step mother Ada H. (Harmon) Farley, his grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Isaac Pierce of this city, an uncle Frank L. Farley of Hollis, an uncle and aunt, Mr. & Mrs. W.E. Pierce of Hingham, a great uncle and aunt Mr. and Mrs. J.W. Pierce of Pepperell, two half sisters and two great aunts, Mrs. A.J. Blood of this city and Mrs. Lizzie Crosby of Franklin Falls, this state.
A military funeral was held for him at Sunday, August 7th 1921 starting from City Hall. He was buried in Woodlawn cemetery. His findagrave site shows a newspaper clipping sent by the company chaplain to Earle’s father, details more of Earle’s first funeral in France.
SEE New Hampshire WWI Military: The Heroes of Nashua for a listing of all military who died from the city of Nashua.
[Editor’s Note: this story is part of an on-going series about heroic New Hampshire men and women of World War I. Look here for the entire listing].