New Hampshire WWI Military: Heroes of Colebrook

The Legion Lot on Bridge Street, Colebrook NH
showing the memorials to veterans of all wars.

The World War I monument commemorating all who served in the military can be found on the town green, called the Legion Lot, near 8 Bridge Street in Colebrook, New Hampshire. The memorial plaque in bronze was affixed to a polished, granite block and dedicated in 1922.

The town was well represented, and in June of 1918 the New Hampshire State historian reported that 3-4% of the town’s population was in service. The Colebrook Public Library has a list of all those from Colebrook who served. I am grateful to them for speaking with me about the monument. My focus is on the six known local men who died while in service.

Sketch from the “Victorious 77th,” by Lieut. Arthur McKeough; 1919.

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Heroes of COLEBROOK NH
Died In Service During WWI

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Carl Elmer Burrill |Private | Killed in action 26 Sept 1918 France | Co. G 39th Infantry A.E.F. | Broadway Cemetery, Lincoln ME | Credited to Maine |[1]

Edmond S. Crepeau | Private |Died of Disease (pneumonia) 7 August 1918 Winnipeg, Canada |1st Depot Battalion, Manitoba Regiment, Canadian Garrison Regiment | Brookside Cemetery, Winnipeg, Canada|[2]

Clayton Crippen |Private |Killed in Action 18 July 1918 France | Battery C, 10th Field Artillery |Hillside Cemetery, Castleton, Rutland VT |[3]

Alfred Jacques | Private | Died of Disease, 6 January 1919 Germany |Battery C, 77th Field Artillery | Arlington National Cemetery |[4]

George L.  ONeil
| Private | Killed in Action 18 July 1918 France | Company L, 103rd Infantry | Colebrook Village Cemetery, Colebrook NH| |[5]

Walter Sturtevant |Private | Died of Disease (nephritis) 14 Jan 1919 at U.S. Army Gen. Hospital, Woodbridge NJ |Co. E., 103rd Infantry |Colebrook Village Cemetery, Colebrook NH|[6]

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  B I O G R A P H I E S
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[1] Carl Elmer Burrill was born 26 July 1895 in Colebrook NH, son of James O. Burrill & Delia R. Leighton.  By 1917 he had moved to Maine where he completed his WWI Registration form on 5 June.  He was then living in Lincoln Center Maine, self employed as a farmer.  He describes himself as single, with blue eyes and black hair. During WWI he served as a private in various companies, and finally in Co G, 39th Infantry. He was part of the engagement at the Meuse-Argonne Offensive.  The book, Roster of Maine in the Military Service of the U.S. and Allies in the World War 1917-1919 shows that his military serial number was 2721245 and includes these comments: ” Ind: Old Town, Penobscot Co., Apr. 28/18. Private. Org: 3 Co 1 Tng Bn 151 Dep Brig to May 24/18; Co I 304 Inf to Aug. 1/18; Co H 163 Inf to Aug. 8/18; Co G 39 Inf to disch. Eng: Meuse-Argonne; Def Sec. Overseas: July 8/18 to Sept. 26/18. Killed in action: Sept. 26, 1918.”  His name does not appear on the WWI Honor Roll in the NH State House. He is buried in West Broadway Cemetery, Lincoln Maine.

[2] Edmond Stanley Crepeau [listed as Edward Crepeau on the Colebrook monument] was born 22 July 1893 in Wooton, Quebec, Canada, son of Arsine Cripeau/Crepeau & Alexandrina “Dorine” Ducharme. He had siblings Arsene Emile, Marie Louise Alexandrina, Edavardina Ilda, Joseph Eugene (of Sudbury, Ontario) , Joseph Emmanual/Manuel, Antonis Gustave, and Antoinette Ilda. He enlisted in the Canadian Army (CEF) his occupation being telegraph operator. At that time his next of kin was Joseph Emanuel Crepeau of Whitefield NH.  He describes himself as being single, aged 24, 5 ft 6-1/2 inches tall, dark complexion with brown eyes and black hair.  He was assigned as a Private, 10th Battalion, CGR (1st Depot Battalion, Manitoba Regiment.).   He was stationed in Winnipeg, Canada.  While there he contracted pneumonia, probably as the result of influenza, and placed on a Military Ward in St. Bonifaise Hospital, Winnipeg. He was admitted 1 August 1918 and died 6 days later on 7 August 1918.  He is buried in Brookside Cemetery, Winnipeg, Canada.

Members of Battery C, 10th F.A., Third Division,
shelling Bois de Foret, Madeleine Farm, near
Mautillois, Meuse, Oct 18, 1918. Photograph
courtesy of National World War I Museum and
Memorial. Used with Permission.

[3] Clayton William Crippen was born 6 Sep 1889 in West Rutland VT, son of Benjamin Crippen & Ida May “Ada” Reed.  In 1900 he was living in Castleton VT with his parents and siblings Charles R., Lottie E., and Frank B.   By 5 June 1917 when he completed his WWI Registration form he was living in Dixville, New Hampshire but employed in Colebrook NH as a herdsman for the Dixville Notch Corporation.  He was single, of medium height and stature with blue eyes and light brown hair.  The U.S. Transport Passenger Lists for WWI show that Clayton W. Crippen sailed for Europe on 23 April 1918 aboard the ship, Tenadores. At that time he was a Private in Battery C., 10th Field Artillery.  His tombstone states that he was killed in action on 18 July 1918 “near St. Eugene Dept of the Marne, France while assisting in breaking down an advance of the Germans across the Marne.”  Clayton’s unit, the 10th Field Artillery Regiment was part of the 3rd Division which became known as the “Rock of the Marne” for its tremendous support at the Second Battle of the Marne, where Clayton died.   The U.S. Military Transport passenger lists show that Clayton’s remains were returned after the war, aboard the ship Wheaton, leaving Antwerp Belgium and arriving in Hoboken NJ on 2 July 1921.  He is buried in his family’s plot at Hillside Cemetery, Castleton, Rutland VT.

[4] Alfred Jacques was born 10 September 1888 at Millbury MA, son  of Hyacienth “Jessie” & Mary Agnes (Dame) Jaques/Jacquin.  In 1900 he was living with his family in Compton, Quebec Canada.  He had siblings Charles, Francois “Francis” M., and Marie Eva.  By July 1917 Alfred was living in Colebrook NH, single and working as a woodsman. In 1940 Alfred’s mother Agnes and his brother Francis were still living in Colebrook NH.  On 5 June 1917 Alfred Jacques completed his WWI Registration form describing himself as short with a medium build, having brown eyes and brown hair.  He was a woodsman working for his brother Francis in Colebrook NH.  He was sent to Europe as part of the 22nd Battery, Automatic Field Artillery Replacement Draft, on the ship Tydeus, departing Brooklyn NH on 23 July 1918.   The 77th Field Artillery were involved in several battles including: 77th Field Artillery Vesle sector, France, August 8 to 16, 1918; St. Mihiel offensive, France Sept 12 to 15, 1918; Meuse-Argonne offensive France Sept 26 to Oct 24, 1918; and Meuse-Argonne offensive, France, Nov 1 to 11, 1918. His records show that he died of disease on 6 January 1919 [please note his tombstone is incorrect when it states 1918, all other records contradict this]. On 29 January 1919 several national newspapers announced his death from disease. His remains were returned to the United States on 29 September 1920, arriving in Hoboken NJ. At that time his rank was Private in Battery C., 77th Field Artillery.   He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Photograph of the 103rd Infantry from the Book
of Salutation to the Twenty-Sixth Division.

[5] George L. O’Neil was born April 1894 in Lemington VT,  son of Francis “Frank” H. O’Neil and Delphine Belongier/Belanger.  By 1910 the family was living in Colebrook NH. George had siblings Arthur John, Mary B. (who married Howard F. Belville)  and Katie.  He was assigned as a Private to Company L, 103rd Infantry and sent to Europe aboard the ship, Lapland, departing New York City on 27 September 1917.  Records show that George L. O’Neil was killed in action in France on 18 July 1918.  The George L. O’Neil American Legion Post is named after him.

[6] Walter D. Sturtevant was born in 1898 in Maine, the adopted son of Melvin D. & Nellie G. Sturtevant.  In the 1900 census he is not shown living with Walter and Nellie, but in 1910 he is living with them in Bethel, Maine (no relationship listed). He enlisted during WWI and was assigned as a Private to Company E., 103rd Infantry.  He departed for Europe from New York City, aboard the ship, Saxonia, his residence then being Colebrook NH.   I don’t know when he returned home, nor the battles that he was involved in, but he died on 14 January 1919 at the U.S. Army General Hospital in Woodbridge, NJ.  His cause of death was chronic parenchymatous nephritis which could have been caused by a fatal exposure to mustard gas during his time on the battlefield.  He is buried in Colebrook Village Cemetery, Colebrook, NH.

[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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3 Responses to New Hampshire WWI Military: Heroes of Colebrook

  1. Michael says:

    While reading your post about this memorial and the men it honors, I started thinking about the purpose of these stone memorials – to honor and remember these people and their sacrifices to future generations. With the recent news that Americans are forgetting the Holocaust, it occurs to me that the need for these memorials is greater than ever, but there’s also perhaps a greater need to engage communities in learning about their meaning. I think your blog does a great deal towards that effort, Janice. I applaud you!

    • Janice Brown says:

      Thank you so much Michael for reading my blog and your comments. I see other blog and web site posts about WWI, the battles, and even sometimes the monuments. I am trying to be different by writing about the PEOPLE, the men and women whose lives were changed forever by World War I. In that way I hope to allow families to learn about and remember their lost relatives, to honor those who died valiantly regardless of the cause, and for those who survived but were forever different. A monument is more than a rock or a plaque.

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

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