New Hampshire WWI Military: Heroes of Laconia

World War I Roll of Honor. Bronze plaques installed before February 1920 in Laconia, NH. As found in the 1920 City of Laconia Annual Report.

Otto E. Duerr, historian of the City of Laconia, summed up the city’s military participation in WWI through his recap in the 1919 annual report. [Extract of 1919 WWI Honor Roll Laconia]. A total of 553 people were on the official honor roll including 254 in the National Army, 117 in the National Guard, 88 in the Regular Army, 35 in the Navy, 31 in the Naval Reserves, 4 in the Marine Corps, 17 in the Medical Corps, and 7 with the Allied Army.

Those who made the “supreme sacrifice for the cause of Humanity” were listed as follows–Killed in Action: Earl O. McGrath, Arthur Roux. Died of Wounds: John F. Holland. Died of Disease: Herbert W. Blackstone, Guy H. Blackstone, Clarence L. Blair, Hollis Bockus, Wilfred J. Chabott, Lester Chapman, Albert C. Minnon, Harrison H. Morrison, Bert L. Paige, Edmund Paquette, Frank W. Wilkins.  To the historian’s list, I have added more.

By February 1920 bronze plaques inscribed with the names of Laconia’s military heroes was installed in a prominent location [see photograph above].  In 2016 these bronze tablets were removed, reconditioned and mounted on granite slabs.   Per Kevin Dunleavy, Director of Recreation & Facilities for the City of Laconia, they will be reinstalled in Veterans Park across the street from its original location before Memorial Day 2017. Indeed this happened, according to the Laconia Daily Sun.  The American Legion was involved in this process, and is actively looking to update their other monuments.

Earl O. McGrath was killed in action 13 July 1918. A street in Laconia was named after him. Photograph from Massachusetts State Archives.

The 1919 Laconia City report also announced (page 37) that a street was being renamed after Earl Owen McGrath who was killed in action in France. The ordinance reads as follows: “In the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and nineteen. AN ORDINANCE changing the name of a certain street in the city of Laconia. Whereas Earl Owen McGrath, a son of Ellen and William McGrath, residnets of this city, who was born on the twelfth day of June 1895 in Thetford, Vermont, and enlisted in Company B of the 103d Infantry of the 26th Division, American Expeditionary Forces, was killed in action in France on July 14, 1918. And Whereas said Earl Owen McGrath was the first soldier killed in action in France whose residence was in said city of Laconia, now therefore for the purpose of perpetuating his memory and his deeds of valor, it is ordained by the City Council of the City of Laconia as follows:That the street running from Lyford Street to Opechee Park and now know and named as Central street is hereby renamed and changed from Central to McGrath street. Passed and approved January 27, 1919. C.E. ROWE, Mayor.” A monument with bronze plaques was built and installed by Feb 15, 1920 when the city of Laconia’s year ended and the report for that year was published, including a photograph of the WWI monument.

★✫★✫★✫★✪🌟✪✫★✫★✫★★
HEROES OF LACONIA, NH
Those who lost their lives during WWI
with a connection to Laconia, New Hampshire
★✫★✫★✫★✪🌟✪✫★✫★✫★★

–LEGEND–
The following legend is used to show the source of the name provided on this list. Soldier or nurse is listed on:
[A] WWI Roll of Honor, Doric Hall, State House, Concord NH
[B] Adjutant General’s List of Killed in Action from New Hampshire
[C] Buried in Europe, American Battle Monuments Commission
[D] Other Official Military Source
[E] Gold Star Mothers of Massachusetts
[F] U.S. Navy Casualty Books
[G] 1919 Laconia NH City Report, List of WWI Military
[H] Death Records
[I] Soldiers of the Great War, Haulsee, W.M.
* Photograph or likeness provided or available.
[#] Numbers refer to a footnote following the list with additional information on a particular soldier or sailor.

BLACKSTONE, Herbert W. |Seaman/Radio Gunner, E1| Died of Disease (lobar pneumonia) 12 October 1918 US Naval Hospital Charleston SC | USNRF | Brown Family Cemetery, Moultonborough NH|[A][F][G][H][1]
BLACKSTONE, Guy Herbert* | Private | Died of Disease, 11 February 1919 | 303rd Field Artillery, US Army | Brown Family Cemetery, Moultonborough NH | [See Photo][A][G][I][2]
BLAIR, CLARENCE L.| fireman 3c | Died of Disease (influenza) 3 June 1918 Naval Hospital, Chelsea MA | Buried Union Cemetery, Laconia NH|[A][G][3]
BOCKUS, Hollis I. | Private | Died of Disease (influenza) 3 October 1918 Hanover NH Detachment Infirmary [Dartmouth Unit SATC] | Buried Union Cemetery Laconia NH |[A][D][G][H][4]
CHABOT(T), Wilfred J | Corporal | Died of Disease 23 Sep 1918 Camp Devens, Harvard MA |U.S. Army , D Co., 397th Battalion | Buried Sacred Heart Cemetery, Laconia NH |[A][D][G][5]
CHAPMAN, Lester | Private | Died of Diease (lobar pneumonia) 11Oct 1918 Camp Upton NY | 11th Co., 152nd Depot Brigade, Camp Upton NY | Buried Union Cemetery, Laconia NH |[A][G] [6]
GERARD, Edward | Private | Died of Wounds 16 Oct 1918 | U.S. Army | Burial Unknown |[A][B][7]
HOLLAND, John F.* | Corporal | Killed In Action 1 August 1918 Aisne-Marne Offensive near Vesle River | 47th Inf. Regiment, 4th Division | Oise-Aisne American Cemetery | Credited also to Massachusetts [See Photo][A][C][8]
McGRATH, Earl O.* | Private | Killed in Action 13 July 1918 | Co. B, 103d Infantry | Buried St. Lambert’s Cemetery, Laconia NH | First Laconia boy killed in action | Credited to Dalton|[A][B][See Photos] [9]
MINNON, Albert C. | Unknown | Died of Disease (influenza) 30Sep 1918 Camp Upton NY | U.S. Army | Buried St. Lambert’s Cemetery, Laconia NH |[A][G] [10]
MORRISON, Harrison M. | — | Died of Disease (influenza, pneumonia) 1 October 1918, Post Hospital, Fort McKinley Maine | National Army | Buried Lakeport, NH |[A][G] l11]
PAIGE, Bert L. | Seaman, Signalboy | Died of Disease 28 Sep 1818 Newton Hospital, Newton MA | Navy, U.S.N.R.F. | Bayside Cemetery, Laconia NH |[A] [12]
PAQUETTE, Edmund | unknown rank | Died of Disease | National Army | Unknown burial |[A][G][13]
ROUX, Arthur* | Private | Killed in Action, 11 October 1918 | 28th BV Canadian Infantry  | Niagra Cemetery, Iwuy France | [See Photo] [14]
TURGEON, Ralph* | Corporal | Died of Disease, 18 Nov 1918 France | Co. C, 103rd Inf, 26th Div. | Sacred Heart Cemetery, Laconia NH | Inscribed Concord NH monument | [See Photo][A][15]
WEBSTER, Earl Alvin | Bugler | Killed in Action, 16 June 1918 France | Co. E, 103d Infantry| Also credited to Concord NH | Note: 16 years old |Bayside Cemetery, Laconia NH | [A][B][16]
WILKINS, Frank W.* | Master Sergeant | Died from Accident, 22 May 1918 in France | Co. D 401st Telegraph Battalion | Union Cemetery, Laconia NH | [See Photo][A][G][17]

★✫★✫★✪🌟✪✫★✫★
B I O G R A P H I E S
★✫★✫★✪🌟✪✫★✫★

[1] Herbert William Blackstone was born 11 Oct 1895 in Wolfeboro NH, son of Herbert A. & Malvina A. (Brown) Blackstone. He had siblings Edward H., Guy H., and Muriel Louise (who died young).  He died 12 October 1918 U.S. Naval Hospital, [St. Phillips St. Michaels] Charleston, S.C., Radio Gunner, U.S.N.R.F. of lobar pneumonia.  On June 1, 1917 filled out WWI Registration form, occupation radio telegraph operator, unemployed, single, short and slender with blue eyes and light brown hair. His Find-a-grave location shows buried in Brown Family Cemetery, Moultonborough, Carroll Co. NH, inscription: Herbert William Blackstone, New Hampshire, E1, US Navy, World War I. From Moultonborough, credited to Laconia.
[2] Guy Herbert Blackstone was born 17 June 1887 Moultonborough NH, son of Herbert A. & Malvina (Brown) Blackstone. He had siblings Edward H., Herbert W., and Muriel Louise (who died young).  Guy H. Blackstone died 11 February 1919 (place unknown), and is buried in the Brown Family Cemetery, Moultonborough NH, inscription: “Guy Herbert Blackstone, New Hampshire, Pvt. US Army, WWI, June 17, 1887, February 11, 1919.  A notice in the Boston Post newspaper of March 11, 1919 shows his named under the “Died of Disease” listings.  His WWI registration form states he was a self-employed boat-man, single, medium height and stature, blue eyes, light hair. His name is down on the U.S. Army Transport list, returning home from Bordeaux France on the ship Niagra, arriving in New York on 2 March 1918. 303rd F.A. service E 1665298.  His name is crossed out in red pencil.
[3] Clarence Leon Blair was born 14 Aug 1887 in Laconia, Belknap Co. NH, son of Leon B. & Flemmie Elen (Foote) Blair. In the 1900 US Census he was living in Laconia NH with his family and including siblings Bert E. and Harry A. Clarence served in the U.S. Navy as a fireman third class and died at the Naval Hospital from influenza. He died 10 Sep 1918 in Chelsea, Suffolk Co. MA. He was buried on 13 Sep 1918 at Union Cemetery in Laconia NH. He married 29 Nov 1917 in Laconia NH to Carrie Amelia French, dau of David A. & Amelia S. (Clifford) French. She was b in Warren NH.
[4] Hollis Edgar Bockus was born 6 January 1897 in Laconia NH, son of Sedrick & Lillian E. (Follansbee) Bockus. He died 3 October 1918 in Hanover NH in the Detachment Infirmary [Dartmouth Unit SATC] of pneumonia and nephritis as a result of influenza. Soldier. His death record shows he was sent to Hanover NH August 15, 1918 and was there to his death in the detachment infirmary. The record shows him as “soldier” and no rank so possibly a private. In 1900 he was living with his grandparents, Clarance & Arvilla (Fellows) Follansbee in Laconia NH. Sedric Bockus, son of Oscar & Almeda (Deline) Bockus had died 5 July 1897 in Laconia NH aged 23y 6m of tuberculosis and buried in Union Cemetery. Of Dutch ancestry according to a 1881 Census of Stanbridge, Missiquoi, Quebec Canada census [his grandfather and father]. He is buried in Union Cemetery in the  Hollis Lot 1099 (was owned Mr. & Mrs. Howard & Lillian Wheeler), and buried there on 5 October 1918.
[5] Wilfred J. Chabott was born July 1890 in Canada, son of Arcadus & Emilie “Emily” (Gosselin) Chabot. He had siblings, Arthur, Emiie and Alpha/Alphonse, Lesia and Rose . Early census records show Wilfred as having been born in Canada, his father immigrating to the U.S. in 1899 after his birth.  Later census records show he was born in the United States.  By 1900 the family was living in Laconia, NH.  Wilfred J. Chabott died 23 September 1918, aged 28 years at the Base Hospital, Camp Devens, MA of Lobar pneumonia.  His record shows he served as a Corporal in the U.S. Army , D Co., 397th Battalion.  Wilfred was buried in Sacred Heart Cemetery, Laconia NH. on 26 September 1918.
[6] Lester Chapman was born 3 April 1895 in Sanbornton NH, son of Saphrona/Sophronia Chapman. His WWI registration form completed in June of 1917 shows he was born 3 April 1895 in Sanbornton NH, working as a foundry-man for James McGloughlin of Laconia NH, he was single and a private in Co. E., NH Guard. He describes himself as tall and stout with dark blue eyes and medium hair. He married 29 Nov 1917 to Edecla Begin, daughter of Napoleon & Hatteelyn (Laroche) Begin. In 1917 and 1919 he was a foundryman living at 97 Highland Street in Laconia NH.  His death record states he died on 11 October 1918 of Lobar pneumonia at Camp Upton NY.   He is buried in Union Cemetery, Laconia NH.  His grave has a military marker.
[7] Edward Gerard was born 6 Sep 1891 in Frampton PQ Canada.  In June of 1917 he was living at 17 Baldwin Street Laconia NH working at Laconia Car Co. and a car repairer (Water St. Laconia). He was single, tall, of medium weight, black eyes and brown hair. There were two Gerard families living in Laconia about the same time that Edward worked there but I cannot conclusively connect them. The November 1918 newspapers noted him under the Died of Disease listing: Edward Gerard, Quebec Canada. Another newspaper stated died from wounds, “Edward Gerard, Frampton, Les Dorchester, Quebec, Canada.” His unit, place of death and burial place are unknown.
[8] John Francis Holland was born 3 May 1892 in Laconia NH, son of Jeremiah C. “Jerry” & Hanora/Anna “Annie” (Sullivan) Holland. His father was a barber. On May 15, 1914 in Boston MA he married Cecelia A. Kennedy, daughter of Joseph & Mary (Fallon) Kennedy. At that time he was a clerk and she was a stenographer. In 1917 when he registered for the WWI Draft, in Boston MA, he was living at 336 Center Street Boston, a liquor dealer working for himself (245 Pleasant St Boston). At that time he was married with a wife and 2 children. He was of medium height and weight with blue eyes and red hair. The Gold Star record of Massachusetts states that he was killed in action 1 Aug 1918 Aisne-Marne offensive, near Vesle River. He enlisted 10 October 1918 Regular Army Co. B 47th Infantry 4th Div. Overseas 19 May 1918. Promoted to Corporal 1 April 1918. He was born 3 May 1892 at Laconia NH son of Jeremiah & Hanora (Sullivan, died 1897) Holland; brother of Daniel, Charles, Cornelius, Anna, Mary and Catherine. He married Cecelia Agnes Kennedy. Children: Beatrice Cecelia, Katherine Marie. Liquor dealer. Of Jamaica Plain [76 Wyman Street]. Resident in Massachusetts eight year.  He is buried in the Asine-Marne American Cemetery in France.
[9] Earl Owen McGrath, son of William Henry & Mary Ellen “Nellie” (Gormley) McGrath, was born 12 June 1895 in Thetford, Vermont. He had siblings: James Hugh (who married Catherine McLeod and who also served during WWI Sgt. Battery B., 73 Art CAC), Sarah A. (who married Arthur James Davis), Helen M., Eva May, Katherine C., and Leo Patrick.  He enlisted in Company B of the 103d Infantry of the 26th Division, American Expeditionary Forces, was killed in action in France July 14, 1918. As he was the first soldier who was a resident of Laconia who was killed in action, a street was named after him [the street running from Lyford street to Opechee Park and now known and named as Central street is hereby renamed and changed from Central to McGrath street. Passed and approved January 27, 1919. C.E. ROWE, Mayor.]  Though originally buried in France, he was reburied in St. Lamberts Cemetery, Laconia NH on 11 Sep 1921.   His tombstone shows:  EARL O. McGRATH | PVT 1 CL 103 INF. | N.H. 26 DIV | 1895-1918 |.  The Boston Post of 27 July 1918 reads: “Private Earl O. McGrath, son of Mr. and Mrs. William H. McGrath of 236 Elm Street, Lakeport, N.H., has been killed in action in France. He is the first Laconia boy to be killed in action in the war. McGrath was serving in B Company, 103d infantry. He enlisted last June in the First New Hampshire Regiment in the Sheridan Guards of Concord. He was 23 years of age and a member of the Church Our Lady of the Lakes. He is survived by four brothers, four sisters and his parents.” Read another obituary on Find-A-Grave page.  [See photograph]
[10] Albert Cyril(le) Minnon was born 17 July 1891 at Lakeport New Hampshire, son of Cyrel V. “John” & Hanora Bridget “Norah” (Girard) Minnon. [Norah was the daughter of Henry Gerard & Bridget O’Brien] In 1900 Albert was living in Laconia NH, with parents and siblings Lydia M., Florida A., and Joseph. Albert C. Minnon married 13 Sep 1909 in Laconia NH to Josephine Gendron Dumas, daughter of John Grendon & Mary (Marchant) Dumas. They had 3 children: Ernest, Doris (who m. Arthur Patrie) and Frank. On 19 Nov 1923 in Rochester NH the widowed Josephine Minnon married Joseph O. Moisan, son of Pierre & Obiline (Ferland) Moisan. In 1917 when Albert completed his WWI registration form, he was a mill laborer in Laconia NH, and had a wife and 3 children. He was of medium height and stature with gray eyes and brown hair. He died 30 September 1918 at Camp Upton, New York of broncho pneumonia resulting from influenza. He was buried in St. Lambert Cemetery in Laconia NH on 4 October 1918.
[11] Harris D. Morrison [aka Harrison M. Morrison] was born 20 November 1891 in Ashland, New Hampshire, son of Henry & Martha (Eastman) Morrison. His WWI registration form at Meredith NH shows that he was a foreman at Cook’s Lumber in Laconia NH in June of 1917, single with his mother as a dependent. He described himself as being tall and slender with hazel eyes and dark brown hair.   The 1917 Laconia NH City Directory shows: “Morrison, Harrison M. foreman saw mill Cook’s L Co, rms 55 Middle.”  Harris D. Morrison married 15 Nov 1917 in Lakeport NH to Marion Ethel Kimball, daughter of Herman & Lillian (Tuttle) Kimball. As a widow she married 2d) 7 January 1921 in Meredith NH to Eugene C. Richardson, son of Harris J. & Hattie I. (Colby) Richardson.   Harris D. Morrison’s death certificate shows that he died on 1 October 1918 (aged 26y 10d 1m) in the Post Hospital at Fort McKinley in Portland Maine. Cause of death was broncho-pneumonia as the result of influenza, total duration 9 days.   He was buried in Lakeport New Hampshire on 5 October 1918.
[12] Bert Lewis Paige aka Louis B. Paige was born 20 October 1897 in Nashua NH, son of Eugene H. & Mary J. (Gerrish) Paige. His parents divorced when he was young, his mother going to live with her parents in Francestown NH and there he grew up. He had one sibling, Ethel F. Paige.  By 1917 he was living in Lakeport NH. His death certificate shows that he died 28 September 1918 of influenza at the Newton Hospital in Newton MA.  His residence at that time was 171 Valley Street, Lakeport, N.H. He was a seaman and signal boy in the U.S.N.R.F.   His body was sent to Lakeport NH 29 Sep 1918 where he was buried in Bayside Cemetery, Laconia NH.
[13] Edmond Paquette was born 28 June 1888 Quebec Canada.  He was probably the son of Thomas & Stasile (Denis) Paquette, found in Quebec, Yamaska District, Abenakis Village with siblings Robert, Sara, Caroline, Agnes, Thomas and Louis. His father Thomas Paquette, hunter, Abenkis Tribe, Pierreville, Yamaska Co, PQ. died in 1917 and was buried there.  On June 5, 1917 when he completed his WWI registration form, Edmond Paquette was 28 years old, living at 25 Beacourt Street in Laconia NH.  He was a laborer on the farm of Frank Dubois, single, of medium height, stout with gray eyes and light hair.  It is known that he died of disease from the Laconia City Report of 1919.  His service information, other than it was in the National Army, and place of burial, is unknown.
[14] Arthur Roux was born 7 April 1888 in Danville, Richmond County, P.Q. Canada, son of Moise/Moyse/Moses & Marie Lumina aka Lucinda/Lena (Morin) Roux.   In 1900 he was living in Ashland, New Hampshire with his parents and siblings: Onis, Angelina, Andrew, Josephine,  Wilfred, Antonio and Henry.  His occupation was a shoemaker and carpenter.  At the time of his enlistment, his father was living in Laconia, NH.  Arthur served as a Private in the 28th BV Canadian Infantry (Saskatchewan Regiment) with service number 1070034. He was killed in action on 11 October 1918. He is buried at Niagra Cemetery, in Iwuy France. [See photograph].
[15] Ralph A. Turgeon was born January 1898 in Vermont, son of Arthur J. & Obeline (Bourque) Turgeon. In 1900 he was living with his family (mother widowed) at 67 Main Street, Dover NH.  Siblings included Arthur E., Wilfred, Henry, Albert, and Arthur E.  Ralph served as a Corporal in Co. C., 103 Infantry, 26th Div (YD), his service attributed to Concord NH. Some of his siblings including his oldest brother Alfred E. lived in Laconia and remained there after the war, so Ralph should also be attributed to Laconia. Ralph was in Europe (possibly Belgium) when he died of disease on 18 November 1918.   His remains were shipped home from Belgium on the ship Cantigny, arriving in New York City on 14 Feb 1922.  His remains were reburied in Sacred Heart Cemetery, Laconia, NH. [See photo].
[16] Earl Alvin Webster was born 18/19 November 1901 in Laconia NH, son of George F. & Lilla E. (Chase) Webster. In 1910 he was living with his family in Newbury, Orange Co. VT on Boltonville Road. He had two half-siblings from his mother’s previous marriage, i.e. Frank B. Dow and Edna Dow. Earl A. Webster enlisted from New Hampshire in the United States Army, Co. E, 103d Infantry, and served as the company’s bugler. He was killed in action 16 Jun 1918 in France, aged 16y 6m 28d.  He lies buried in Bayside Cemetery, Laconia, New Hampshire.
[17] Frank Wood Wilkins was born April 1877 in Newport NH, son of Russell T. & Elvira (Barton) Wilkins. In 1880 his family was living in Newport NH including siblings Ernest and Mable L. In 1900 Frank was living in Manchester New Hampshire, single and working as an electrician.  By 1910 his parents had moved to Laconia. He served during WWI with the rank of Master Signal Electrician. Although he would not have been drafted due to his age, he volunteered, leaving his job at New England Telephone Company and was in Co. D 401st Telegraph Battalion.  He died in France of injuries received when he crashed his motorcycle (reportedly while trying to avoid hitting a little girl). Wilkins broke his leg, while at the same time the gas tank of the motorcycle ruptured and his wounds were contaminated, leading to medical complications.  He died on 22 May 1918 in France.  His remains were returned and buried in Union Cemetery, Laconia NH. [See Photograph]

★✪ MILITARY HONORS ✪★

Clinton J. Masseck. I would be remiss if I did not mention this hero who survived the war.  Lieutenant Colonel Clinton J. Masseck,  son of Clinton S. & May Lee (Elmore) Masseck, was born 24 Feb 1886 in Grand Rapids, Michigan.    He married 26 June 1911 in Somerville MA to Annie Laura Danforth.  They had one daughter, Ruth (b 1914).  Clinton’s father, Clinton S. Masseck ran Masseck’s Gift Shop in Laconia, New Hampshire.

Clinton J. Masseck was a Captain when he served in WWI, assigned to HQ 3rd Battalion, 353rd Infantry, and promoted to Major.   His regiment was organized September 5, 1917 and left the United States for France on 4 June 1918. Upon their return they were sent to Camp Upton to muster out.  He was decorated with the croix de guerre with gold star, for gallantry in action, just before his regiment left Prum, Germany on its return to the United States. He returned home from Brest, France aboard the ship Leviathan, arriving in Hoboken NJ on 22 May 1919.

Lieut. Col. Clinton J. Masseck died 26 June 1948 in New York City. Lt. Col. Masseck and his wife are buried in the Masseck family plot in Woodlawn Cemetery, Nashua NH. Nashua Telegraph, 29 June 1948 page 6. “Lt. Col Clinton J. Masseck. Committal service for Lt. Col. Clinton J. Masseck of New York City was held in the family lot in Woodlawn Cemetery this morning at ten. Rev. Denton J. Neily officiated. Several friends were in attendance. Military honors were given by a firing squad from Fort Banks, Winthrop, Mass. The squad was under the direction of Sgt. George H. Webster of Hudson while Pfc Paul Haggard was the bugler..”

[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].

This entry was posted in History, Military of New Hampshire, NH WW1 Military and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to New Hampshire WWI Military: Heroes of Laconia

  1. Pingback: New Hampshire World War I Military: Heroes of The Great War | Cow Hampshire

Leave a Reply