Emile St. Hilaire was born 1 June 1889 at Saint-Romuald, Levis, PQ Canada, the son of Procul & Arthemise (Nolin) St. Hilaire. His siblings included: Lea, Yvonne, and Marie Anna (who later married Ernest J. Perron).
Emile would have grown up and attended school in a village school in Levis Canada. His family moved to Berlin, New Hampshire after 1901 when they are shown in the Canadian Census in Levi, Quebec Canada, and before 1910 when the the family is established in Berlin, Coos County, New Hampshire.
In April of 1917 the United States became directly involved in the World War (WWI). On his military draft registration form dated 5 June 1917 he provides a great deal of information. He was married and he had a child. He is described as being of medium height and build, with blue yes and dark brown hair.
Emile St. Hilaire, had married 20 June 1910 in Berlin Coos Co NH to Delia Guilmette, daughter of Felix Guilmette & Marie Beaumond. They had a son, Joseph Antonio Emeric St. Hilaire, known as Antonio St. Hilaire. Antonio would grow up Berlin NH and marry Marie Florence Annette Blanchette, and have 3 sons: Leo, Richard and Robert Henry, whose descendants carry on the family name.
Meuse-Argonne Offensive, September 26 to November 11, 1918. Scenes of 78th and 91st Divisions from US National Archives on Youtube.
Emile St. Hilaire entered the United States army, being assigned to the 309th Infantry Regiment, 78th Division, as a private. This regiment trained at Camp Dix, New Jersey, and served with the American Expeditionary Force in France from September 10, 1918 until the end of May 1918. The 309th regiment was in three decisive battles in France. They were at St. Mihiel, Meuse-Argonne, and Lorraine. It was during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive when the 309th regiment would have been in the St. Juvin region where Emile St. Hilaire lost his life on 17 October 1918.
As was typical of the protocol, Emile would have been buried in a small cemetery near the battlefield, with a cross marking the spot, and also his dog tags or other personal military designation showing who lie there. Later his body was removed and reburied at the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery at Romagne, France, in Plot B Row 13 Grave 17.
Emile St. Hilaire’s name can be found inscribed upon the memorial tablets in Doric Hall of the New Hampshire State House, Concord. There is a WW1 monument in Berlin, New Hampshire but it is unknown if Emile’s name appears on it.
[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].
Additional Reading: The Greatest Battle Never Told: The Meuse-Argonne Offensive (pdf)