New Hampshire WWI Military: Heroes of Tilton

tilton-nh-old-postcard-wwi-b-watermarked

Antique postcard showing welcome banner across Main Street in Tilton, New Hampshire. Postcard reads: “WELCOME” TO RETURNED SOLDIERS, TILTON, N.H. NOV. 11, 1919

On November 11, 1919, the first year anniversary of the Armistice, a photograph was taken of the welcome arch crossing Main Street in Tilton New Hampshire. This would have been located at approximately 276 Main Street, facing west. No doubt like most of the other WWI celebratory arches of the day, it was only left up a short time, usually a few months from November 11th through New Year’s Day.

Tilton New Hampshire's Main Street today. Same view as older photograph on this same page.

Tilton New Hampshire’s Main Street today. Same view as older photograph on this same page.

Tilton New Hampshire in 1917 was your average small New Hampshire community. Though there was some farming, the economy was greatly based on working in the local mills that included woolen, hosiery and wrappers. The Tilton Seminary drew teachers and young people from this region looking for educational opportunities. The B&M Railroad passed through the town, offering transportation of people and goods. A look at the 1900 census shows many occupations relating to every day life, such as drug and grocery stores, mechanics, etc.

Between 1910 and 1920 the population grew a few hundred people to 2,014. During WWI the town sent its full quota to the war effort, and the Tilton memorial shows 102 names. Five of those men died during the war and never made it home. Wonderful photographs of the Tilton WWI Memorial are already online, on a web site devoted to historical markers. I have transcribed all the names found on the engraved plate.

IN HONOR OF THOSE FROM THE TOWN OF TILTON
WHO DEVOTED THEMSELVES
TO THE CAUSE OF FREEDOM
IN THE SERVICE OF OUR COUNTRY
1914-1919
FREDERICK T. ABBOTT
JOHN W. BAILEY
GEORGE C. BAKER
KENDRICK C. BEAN
RAYMOND J. BEAUCHESNE
ELI BEAUPRE
VICTOR BELAIR
GEORGE J. BELAIR
CHARLES H. BRACE
GEORGE B. BROWN
EVERETT M. BROWN
DAVID J. BUCKINGHAM
IRVING E. BURKE
KINGMAN P. CASS
WILLIAM R. CHURCH
JOSEPH CHURCHILL
REXFORD A. COLBY
PETER COLBY
ROSCOE J. COWAN
MERTON S. CROSS
CLARENCE V. CROSS
JOSEPH DAIGNEAULT
JOSEPH DAKIN
FRED F. DAVIS
GUY E. DAVIS
WILFRED A. DION
HENRY T. DUVAL
LEWIS A. EADIE
FRED J. EGGLESTON
FREEMAN A. ELLIOTT
HARRY ENTWISTLE
JEREMIAH E. FRANKLIN
LEO C. FRENCH
WILLIAM W. FRENCH
WALTER J. FROST
HERBERT E. GARD
ROBERT A. GARD
ERNEST W. GILE
JOHN B. GIROUARD
JOSEPH GIROUARD
CHARLES H.W. GLINES
GEORGE E. GOMO
RALPH H. GOODALE
ROBERT B. HANNAN
BERT HAMMOND
ALBERT HARVEY
L. EARLE HILL
THERON H. HUCKINS
ROY J. HURLBERT
ALONZO A. JAMES
JAMES H. JOYCE
ERNEST KENNISTON
ARTHUR C. LIBERTY
JOHN A. LOCKE
WINFRED J. LONG
ARTHUR M. LORD
ARTHUR MARCOTTE
FRANK MCLAUGHLAN
JOHN P. MCMANUS
JOHN L. MONTGOMERY
CHARLES N. MORRISON
ERROLL S. MORSE
STEPHEN NICHOLAS
LUCIUS J. PARKS
ERNEST PERKINS
IRVILLE PICKERING
CLINTON F. PRESBY
ARTHUR B. RANDALL
FRED A. RAYNO
ELROY F. RUITER
FRANK D. SANBORN
ADLAI SCHULMAIER
ROBERT H. SEDGLEY
HERBERT F. SHIATTE
JOHN A. SHAW
CLARENCE SHAW
PERLEY F. SMITH
GEORGE J. SQUIERS
JOHN W. STANLEY
FRED A. STRONG
WILLIAM G. STRONG
FRED TERRIEN
JOHN F. THOMPSON
GEORGE L. THOMPSON
CLAYTON THOMPSON
LAWRENCE L. THOMPSON
EDWARD L. THURBER
BERNARD TIBBETTS
CHARLES E. TILTON
ARCHIE VALLIER
JOSEPH P. VINEAU
MAYNARD J. WARTMAN
EDWARD WHITTIER
CLYDE A. WHIPPLE
HERBERT E. WIGGIN
JESSE A. WIGGIN
ARTHUR H. WILLIAMSON

* * * IN MEMORIAM * * *
[Indicating those who died in service]
HAROLD E. EADIE
RAYMOND W. HAIRE
WILLIAM H. RANDALL
MILTON S. TOWN
FRANK C. WHITEMAN
* * * * * * * * * *

THEY SERVED WITHOUT THOUGHT
OF SELF THAT THE PRINCIPLES OF
LIBERTY, JUSTICE AND EQUALITY
MIGHT PREVAIL FOR ALL MANKIND


As for those who died in military service, from Tilton, New Hampshire, I have researched and prepared a brief story about each man.  If any of my readers have more information on them, I would welcome your information as comments.

EADIE, Harold Field | 1st Lieutenant | Killed in Action, 2 March 1918, north of Toul, France | Co. C, 103d Regiment | Forest Hill Cemetery, Utica NY | NH WWI Honor Roll | Tilton WWI Monument | [Story and Photo Here][1]

HAIRE, Walter Raymond | Private 1C | Killed in Action, 12 October 1918, Aire valley, west of Sommerance, France) | Co. I, 325th Infantry, 82d Div. | Park Cemetery, Tilton NH  | Purple Heart Recipient | NH WWI Honor Roll | Tilton WWI Monument | [Story and Photo here][2]

RANDALL, William H. | Seaman, 2C | Died of Disease (influenza), 25 Sep 1918 | U.S. Navy, U.S.S. Nebraska | Park Cemetery, Tilton, NH | NH WWI Honor Roll | Tilton WWI Monument | [Story here][3]

TOWN(S), Milton S. | Private | Died of Disease/Wounds, before 4 December 1918 | U.S. Army | Park Cemetery, Tilton, NH | NH WWI Honor Roll | Tilton WWI Monument | VFW Proposed | Story here|[4]

WHITEMAN, Frank C. | Private | Killed in Action, 12 July 1918, in the Aisne-Marne offensive   | Co. E 103d Infantry | Park Cemetery, Tilton, NH | NH WWI Honor Roll | Tilton WWI Monument | Whiteman-Davidson American Legion Post 49 Tilton-Whitefield  Named in his Honor | See Photo and Story here|[5]


Photograph of Harold F. Eadie from book, "Phillips Academy in The Great War," 1919.

Photograph of Harold F. Eadie from book, “Phillips Academy in The Great War,” 1919.

[1] Harold Field Eadie was born 22 August 1893 in Fall River Massachusetts, son of James Lewis & Elizabeth (Connell) Eadie.  He attended Pittsfield MA schools, followed by Phillips-Andover Academy and Dartmouth College.  On May 19, 1917 he completed a registration form in Plattsburg, Clinton Co. NY stating his residence was Tilton NH, and that he was a student-candidate in the Officers Reserve Corps. He was single, of medium height, slender build with blue eyes and brown hair.    A newspaper obituary would later state, “he was engaged to be married to Miss Marjorie Moses, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William H. Moses of Tilton, a student at Wellesley College.”

During WWI he was assigned to Co. C of the 103rd regiment and sent to France.  His biography from the Phillips Academy book called, Phillips Academy in Wartime, states “Harold Field Eadie was fatally wounded while leading his men in action. The story is one of those dramatic incidents which seize  the imagination. On the evening of Friday, March 1, 1918, the Germans made a raid on his sector in the trenches northwest of Toul. Lieutenant Eadie, who was then Acting Captain of Company C of the 103d Infantry, rallied a group of men with rifles and machine guns, went through the wire entanglements into No Man’s Land, and there awaited the Hun retreat. As the enemy were repelled, Eadie and his detachment poured in a deadly fire, killing and wounding scores; but he himself was struck by a piece of shrapnel, which pierced his lung. One of his soldiers saw him ‘alongside a spitting machine gun, blazing away with his automatic pistol.’ He was carried to the hospital and an operation was performed immediately, but to no avail. He died early in the morning on March 2. Upon his casket was placed the French war cross, awarded to him for bravery.” [read the entire entry].

His Colonel said: — “The gallantry with which he did his duty, his constant alertness, his energy, were all an inspiration to the officers and an example to the men.” When the war ended, his body was returned to the United States and buried in the family plot at Forest Hill Cemetery, in Utica New York.


haire-pvt-walter-2-b-watermarked[2] Walter Raymond “Wallie” Haire was born 18 July 1890 in Lowell, Massachusetts, son of  Edward W. and Charlotte Cynthia “Lottie” (Black) Haire. In 1900 he was living in Lynn MA with his parents and siblings, Milton G., Hazel G., and Jennie A. Haire.  His grandmother Charlotte Black was also living with them.

In 1917 when he filled out his registration form, he was living at 326 Commonwealth Ave, Boston MA, a student at Boston University Law School, Boston MA.  He was single, short, of medium weight, with blue eyes and light brown hair.

When WWI began, though he was a student, he enlisted in Massachusetts on 22 September 1917.  The book, Gold Star Mothers of Massachusetts offers this biography:
Haire, Walter Raymond: killed in action 12 October 1918 (Aire valley, west of Sommerance). Ent. 22 Sep 1917, Co. G, 301st Inf., 76th Division; trans. 12 Nov to Co I, 325th Inf., 82d Div. Overseas 25 April 1918.   Born 18 July 1890 at Lowell, son of Edward W. and Charlotte Cynthia (Black) Haire of Tilton NH; brother of Milton George, Hazel Georgia, Jane Agnes, Sara Eunice, Charlotte Ruth and Mildred Gladys (wife of Copeland Mitchell Draper). Student, Boston University Law School.

In 1961 Walter’s brother Milton ordered a flat, military marker for his burial spot in Park Cemetery, Tilton NH.  He is also honored with his name engraved on the WWI Honor Roll in the NH State House, and on the Tilton NH WWI monument.


Photograph of the U.S.S. Nebraska during WWI.

Photograph of the U.S.S. Nebraska during WWI. From U.S. Military files.

[3] William H. Randall was born 12 December 1899 in Tilton New Hampshire, 3rd child and son of Frank B. & Jennie (Lupien) Randall. His father worked as a mechanic.  In 1900 William was living in Tilton with his parents, and siblings, Earl F. (who married Helen Thompson), and Arthur B.

When WWI began, William enlisted in the United States Navy at Boston, Massachusetts.  He was a seaman third class at the time of his death.  He died of disease, influenza the scourge of many young people during this time, while he was aboard the U.S.S. Nebraska.  My research on this ship shows that on the day that William died this ship was heading into port, or was in port at Hampton Roads, Virginia.

When the war ended William’s remains were buried in Park Cemetery, in Tilton NH. His name is also inscribed on the WWI Honor Roll in the NH State House, and on the Tilton WWI Monument.


[4] Milton Schofield Towne [alias Towns, Town] was born  4 January 1895 in Tilton NH, son of Charles A.  & Christianna (Kenney) Towne.  On 4 June 1917 when he filled out his registration form, he wrote his surname as Townes, but signed the document “Towns.”  At that time he was a clerk at his father’s store, was single, and was of medium height and weight, with blue eyes and brown hair.

On 24 September 1917 he married, in Dover NH to Persis F. Ash (b Warner NH), dau of George E. Ash & Alice Ober.  He had one child, Verna Alice Towns who was born 19 June 1918 in Franklin NH and d. 6 April 2007. Verna married 3 times (Mitchell, Webber and Skwozynski).

Milton was a private in the United States Army.  On 4 December 1918 the newspapers announced that he died of disease, or died of wounds (both statuses are listed). His body was returned to Tilton after the war, and buried in Park Cemetery.  His name is listed on the WWI Honor Roll in the NH State House, and on the Tilton WWI Monument.

An enigmatic newspaper story appeared about a VFW proposed to be named in his honor, as I cannot find that it ever existed. “Several officers from the Hovey Post, Veterans of Foreign Wars and other posts from nearby towns, went to Tilton Monday where they mustered in a new post in that town. The party consisted of William Henson, senior vice commander of the Hovey Post, Samuel Craig, junior vice commander of the Durham Post, John Buzzle, past commander of the Christy Post in Dover, H. Lijehult, state adjutant of this city, and Department Commander Guy Joy of Dover. The post will be known as Milton A. Towns Post No. 1088. William Henson was the installing officer. It was a most enthusiastic meeting and the post promises to be a live wire from the start.” –Dec 4, 1923, The Portsmouth Herald


Frank C. Whiteman. From The Journal Transcript newspaper of 21 March 1918, obtained at the Franklin Library, via Christopher Joscelyn and Roy Cilley.

[5] Frank C. Whiteman was born 20 August 1896 in Tilton, NH, son of Frank C. & Emily M. (Aldrich) Whiteman.  In 1900 & 1910 he was living with his parents in Tilton on Cedar Street.  He had an older sister Effie, born in 1884. His father was a section hand for the railroad.

When WWI was declared, Frank C. went into the regular army, serving in Co. E of the 103rd Infantry. He was killed in action on 12 July 1918 in the Aisne-Marne Offensive. As was typical of the time, he was buried with honors near where he fell.  After the war ended, his remains were returned home to be buried in Park Cemetery, Tilton NH.

On 13 June 1918 the Franklin NH newspaper, The Journal Transcript printed the following: Soldier’s Letter. Mrs. Whiteman of Cedar street recently received the following letter from her son Frank C. Whiteman of the 103 U.S. Infantry. Somewhere in France. April 24, 1918. “Dear Mother:– I got lots of mail today, five letters and five papers, so I will answer them right away. One of them is from W.A. Dion. It has rained here for the last three days, and believe me, it is mud, mud, mud where ever you go. I don’t know when I will be able to send you a picture, just now we are in a small town and there isn’t any chance of getting any taken, but I will just as soon as I can. I haven’t seen Fred Eggleston yet. I guess I haven’t lost any weight since I’ve been here, because I weighed myself a few days ago and I tipped the scales to 165 pounds. That’s not so bad is it? I guess I got the last box you sent me if it was the one with the stockings and also the searchlight. I hear that the folks can’t send any more packages to the soldiers unless the soldier’s write and say they want some special things. I see the papers are printing all sorts of things about some of us fellows. Crockett had a letter from Ray Perkins and he had heard that I was in a hospital and had been transferred to some other outfit. I should like to know where he got hold of such stuff as that. You don’t want to listen to any of that stuff. If I am transferred I will let you know and if anything happens to me the Government will let you know. I can’t seem to think of anything more to write just now, but will try and write another letter before long. With the best of wishes and good luck to you all, I am your loving son. FRANK C. WHITEMAN. Co. C 103 U.S.; Inf., A.E.F. via New York” [Editor’s Note: four months after this letter was sent, he was killed].

His obituary (with photo show above) was printed in the Franklin NH newspaper, The Journal Transcript of 15 August 1918. “Mr. and Mrs. Frank Whiteman of Cedar Street received a telegram from Washington Monday stating that their son, First Class Private Frank C. Whiteman had been killed in action. Private Whiteman was born in Tilton and would have been 22 years old the 20th of this month. He attended school here graduating from the grammar school in 1911. He decided to learn the machinist’s trade and went to Vermont to work, but later answered the call to arms and enlisted a year ago this summer in Concord in Co. C of the First New Hampshire Infantry. A few days before the news of his death, his parents received a letter in which he said that he was perfectly well. On account of some orthographical errors in the telegram received from Washington, Mrs. Whiteman has telegraphed to Washington for further details.

The Whiteman-Davidson American Legion Post 49 Tilton-Northfield was named in his honor, and his name appears on both the WWI Honor Roll in the NH State House and on the Tilton NH WWI Memorial.  The Legion Post has a biography with details of his service on their web site (PDF).  My thanks to Roy Cilley, Historian of American Legion Post 49 for taking the time to speak with me about this hero, and to send me his photograph and newspaper clippings.

[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].

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