New Hampshire WWI Military: Heroes of Hillsborough

One panel of a stereograph photograph of
unidentified mill in Hillsborough NH by
Charles F. McClary. New Hampshire Historical
Society. Used with permission.

The History of Hillsborough New Hampshire by George Waldo Browne and published in 1921 has part of a chapter devoted to The World War and lists most men from the town who served in the armed forces. It is available [here] in its original form and a transcribed list can also be found on Genealogy Trails web site.  Just to be clear, for this story I am describing people and events in the town of Hillsborough,  located in Hillsborough County, New Hampshire.  Hillsborough Bridge is a village within the same town. [Editor’s note: Hillsborough was sometimes spelled Hillsboro].  I focus on the men from the town of Hillsborough NH who died while in military service–there were at least ten.

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Heroes of Hillsborough NH
Died In Service During WWI

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Percy H. Bailey* | Private | Died of Disease 9 Oct 1918 France | Co. B., 147th Infantry |Maple Avenue Cemetery, Hillsborough NH | [1]

Frank O. Bemis |Private | Killed in Action 17 July 1918 France | Co. E, 103rd Infantry, 26th Division | Aisne-Marne American Cemetery, Belleau, France | Credited to Antrim NH on NH Adjutant General Casualty List | [2]

Dennis J. Bossie | Sgt. | Killed in Action 17 July 1918 France | Co. F, 103rd InfantryOld St. Louis de Gonzague Cemetery, Nashua NH| [3]

Christopher L. Dougherty* | Private | Killed in Action 18 July 1918, Chateau Thierry, France | Co. F, 102d Infantry | Aisne-Marne American Cemetery | [4]

Everett M. Heath* | Private | Killed in Action 10 October 1918 France | 18th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division| Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery, France |[5]

Lester H. Hicks |Died of Disease 23 June 1917 (pleurisy, pneumonia and Brights Disease) Naval Marine Hospital, Brooklyn NY| U.S. Navy, Battleship Maine | Wells Cemetery, Canaan NH | [6]

Albert J. Lagasse* | Private | Killed in Action 12 October 1918 | 325th Infantry, 82d Division| Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery France |[7]

Archibald L. Smith*| Sergt | Died of Disease (myocarditis) 21 August 1918 near Tours, France | Quartermaster’s Dept, 301st Co., Motor Supply Train 401 | Pine Grove Cemetery, Manchester NH | [8]

Arthur T. Trottier* | Private | Died on 16 May 1919, from woulds received at St. Mihiel, France  | Saint Mary’s Cemetery, Hillsborough, NH|[9]

Gleason W. Young* | Private | Killed in Action 18 July 1918, Chateau Thierry, France | Co. F 103rd Infantry  | Appleton Cemetery, Deering NH |American Legion Post named in his honor. [10]

 

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BIOGRAPHIES
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Photograph of Percy H. Bailey from
Hillsborough Messenger newspaper, 14
November 1918, page 1

[1] Percy Harry Bailey was born 2 May 1895 in Hillsborough, Hillsborough Co. NH, son and eldest child of Harry H. & Ida E. (Ray) Bailey. In the 1900 and 1910 U.S. Census records, Percy was living on Depot Street in Hillsborough NH with his parents and sibings Lottie N. (who m. Norman H. Chick), Marjorie Clair who d. 1911 of pneumonia, Doris Margaret, and Thelma.  His WWI Registration form was completed in Hillsborough NH when he stated he was living in ‘Hillsboro,’ working as a farmer for Frank Brockway. He was 22 years old and single. He describes himself as being 6’2″ tall, 160 lbs with brown hair and brown eyes.  The U.S. Army Transport Passenger lists show that he was a Private in Company B, 147th Infantry, 37th Division, departing Newport News, Virginia on 22 June 1918 aboard the ship Pocahontas, bound for Europe.  His Service Number was 1748162.

Bailey Obituary from 14 Nov 1918 Hillsborough
Messenger newspaper

The Hillsborough Messenger newspaper of Oct 24, 1918, page 4 printed the following from Percy Bailey.  “Letters from the Boys in Service, August 13, 1918. Dear Father and Mother:  If you got my last letter I told you I was going to tell you about an old church but I have done a little travelling since then and have been in two other old churches, but of course, I will have to leave the description of them until I get home. // I have been up to the front for pretty near —– but am back again behind the lines now. They call it —. I didn’t see a Frity but at times it was a Forth of July and a little bigger than you had at home, I bet. I wrote a letter to Doris when I was right in the trenches just before sun set one night but of course I couldn’t tell where I was then. I wonder what she would think she she knew when I was writing that letter there were six German airplanes right over our head pretty high up and they were shooting shrapnel at them like fun. // I went out on a patrol last night and it was kind of exciting at first. It was what they call an ambush patrol but we didn’t catch a thing. No man’s land is a scary place at night, altho there isn’t much there but shell holes, bushes and barbed wire. I bet I will know how to build a barbed wire that will keep the cows in. I didn’t get a chance to go out again. I was given the job to take care of the rockets and signals. I didn’t send up any. The Germans were shooting rockets and flares all the time; I guess they were scared. When the Yankies burn powder it is generally pushing lead towards Berlin. // When we came out we went thru a ‘de-lousing station’ where we had a good hot bath, and our clothes were steamed and we got clean underwear. Before I left the place where I was going to see a church, I was put in a bombinb squad and learned how to throw hand grenades. There are a lot of different kinds. I think I will bring a couple home to take fishing and to throw in a trout hole.
I have had some good train rides once in a “side door pullman” and on one of those cars that say: 40 men or 8 horses on it in French. Of course every thing is done at night now; fellows who used to stay out all night ought to like that.  //  I got your letter all right, also one from Aunt Mabel and Mrs. Brockway that were written May 20 while I was at Camp Dix. I may get some of yours that I missed yet. // I never saw an airplane when I was at home but have seen a lot of them here. They make a noise like the planes in a saw mill. Just as I am writing this letter there are a couple of “jerrys” up in the clouds and one was shot down and I saw it fall about a mile away.  //At a couple of the places we have been billeted in barns and hay lofts. This is fine when there is some hay in them. In one loft there was a lot of new hay and I had a fine bed. We didn’t stay there very long though. I got dad’s letter of June 20 all right. I will try and write more often in the future. I guess it has been 8 weeks since I last wrote, but you folks ought to write often. With love to all. Pvt. Percy Bailey, Co. B, 147th Infantry, A.P.O. 758, American E.F.”

Percy Bailey died of disease on 9 Oct 1918 in France, just a month before the Armistice. The newspapers would not announce his death for another several weeks.   He was probably buried near the battlefield, or in the hospital where he died.  On 2 July 1921 his remains were returned to the United States on the ship, Wheaton, bound from Antwerp Belgium to Hoboken New Jersey.  He is buried in Maple Avenue Cemetery, Hillsborough, NH. His name can be found on the Roll of Honor in Doric Hall of the NH State House, and in the book, “History of Hillsborough NH,” by George Waldo Browne.

[2] Frank Oliver Bemis was born 22 September 1891 in Raymond NH, son of William M. & Nellie J. (Colby) Bemis. In 1900 he was living in Bennington NH with his parents and sibling: Herbert Clifton, William Edward, Robert Lester, Frederick A. “Fred,” and Laura M. (who m. John Campbell).  The Hillsborough Messenger newspaper of 8 August 1918 reported: “In the same list of casualties appears the name of Frank O. Bemis credited to Hillsboro and killed in action. Private Bemis, we find, lived here a short time about the time he enlisted, his mother marrying a second time a Mr. Johnson, who worked as a carpenter for E.C. Rumrill, and they moved to either Antrim or Bennington. This was all we were able to find about him.”  Frank’s WWI Registration form was completed 5 June 1917 in Antrim, NH. At that time he was living in Antrim NH, working for George W. Hunt. He was single and described himself as short, of medium height with gray eyes and light brown hair. The U.S. Army Transport Passenger List shows that he was a Private in Co. E., 103rd Infantry departing New York, NY for Europe on 25 September 1917 aboard the ship Saxonia.

Frank was killed in action on 17 July 1918 in France. He was probably first buried near the battlefield, then when the American Monuments were build, he was moved to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in Belleau, France. He lies in Plot B., Row 1, Grave 60.  He is credited to Antrim NH on the New Hampshire Adjutant General’s WWI Casualty List, and his name is found on the Roll of Honor in Doric Hall of the New Hampshire State House.

[3] Dennis Joseph Bossie/Bossie was born 15 June 1891 at Tingwick (Saint-Patrice), Quebec Canada, son of Regis & Marie (Boutin) Bossie.  In the year of his birth, his family was living in Tingwick. The family immigrated to the United States about 1893 and by 1900 they were living in Belmont, Belknap County, NH.  Dennis had siblings Regis, Joseph, Pierre, Louis, Louisa, Mary Jane, Flora and Alfred.   The History of Hillsborough, New Hampshire states that “he resided in Hillsborough 7 years; saw service at Mexican border where he was made Corporal; entered service from Nashua, July 25, 1917; went to Concord and made Sergeant….”  He was a Sergeant in Co. H, 103rd Infantry when he was sent to France during World War I.   While there he was killed in action on 17 July  1918 during the Aisne-Arne operation. [At that time his parents were living in Nashua, N.H.]  His body was returned to Nashua NH for reburial in August of 1921. He was reburied with honors in the  Old St. Louis de Gonzague Cemetery, Nashua NH. The History of Hillsborough NH states that his “family awarded medal of honor” however this does not refer to THE Medal of Honor but rather a medal of honor such as a purple heart or some other type.  His name appears on the Roll of Honor in Doric Hall of the New Hampshire State House, and on the list at Hillsborough New Hampshire.

[4] Christopher Lawrence “Doc” Dougherty was born 2 July 1894 in Bronx, NY Co., NY son of Daniel & Mary Anne (Keenan) Dougherty.  His father died in 1896 and his mother in 1898.  So it is no surprise that in the 1900 US Census he (aged 5) and a sibling Joseph (also aged 5) were “inmates” in the N.Y. Catholic Protectory Orphanage in the Bronx, NY City.  He completed his WWI

Photograph courtesy of his great niece Delores.
Used with permission.

Registration form on 5 June 1917 at Hillsborough NH, stating he was 22, single and working as a baker for Howard Proctor of Hillsborough NH. He described himself as being short, of medium stature with blue eyes and brown hair.  The History of Hillsborough NH says of him, ” “Doc” was employed at Proctor’s stable and later at the bakery. His people lived in New York so that his death was reported there. He entered service April 16, 1917.”  The U.S. Army Transport Passenger lists show that during WWI he served as a Private in Co. F, 103rd Infantry and departed New York City on 25 December 1917 aboard the ship Saxonia bound for Europe.  At that time he listed his residence as 478 E 178th Street, New York City, and his next of kin, an aunt, Miss Margaret Keenan. Christopher L. Dougherty was killed in action 18 July 1918 at Chateau Thierry, France. He was probably at first buried near the battlefield.  Today his remains lie in the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery, Belleau, France in  Plot A Row 2 Grave 42 as a strangely anonymous “C.L. Dougherty” on his tombstone.  His name, as “Chris L. Dougherty” is engraved on the Roll of Honor in Doric Hall of the New Hampshire State House, and his name appears on the WWI list in the History of Hillsborough NH book.

From Hillsborough
Messenger newspaper of 21
November 1918.

[5] Everett Monroe Heath was born 10 April 1889 in Orange, Grafton Co. New Hampshire, son of Orra H. and Mary E. (Tenney) Heath. In 1900 he was living in Grafton NH with his family, and in 1910 he was living in Hillsborough with them.  He had full siblings [Heath] Eva May, Arthur E., Wilbur Hazen; and half-siblings Albert H., Addison Horace, George Augustine, and Sidney Rockwood.    His WWI Registration form was completed on 5 June 1917 in Hillsborough NH. He stated his name as Everett Monroe Heath, aged 28. He was a knitter for Con. Mills Corp of Hillsborough NH. He was single, and described himself as being of medium height, stout, blue eyes and brown hair.  The U.S. Army Military Transport Records show that on 6 July 1918 he departed Montreal Canada aboard the ship Burma bound for Europe. He was a Private in Co. A, 303rd Infantry, 76th Division, Service Number 2724209. His residence was 15 Church Street Hillsboro NH with his next of kin as mother, Mary Heath.  At some point he must have been transferred or merged into the 18th Infantry, 1st Infantry Regiment, for upon his death on 10 October 1918 in France, he was in that unit.  He was buried in the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery, Romagne France, in Plot C Row 46 Grave 27.   The Nov 21, 1918 issue of the Hillsborough Messenger newspaper wrote: “Private Heath was born in Grafton and was 29 years of age. He was the son of Orra H. and Mary E. Heath and came to Hillsboro about 20 years ago. His father died about 10 years ago. He leaves two brothers, one sister and four half brothers. He and his brother Wilbur were called at the same time, May 25, 1918 to Camp Devens and later sent to France where they have seen considerable service. Private Heath was employed in the Hosierty Mill and was a quiet, steady-going, substantial young man and popular with his acquaintances.”

[6] Lester Harlow Hicks was born 23 March 1899 Westford VT, son of Joseph Waldo & Bertha Ann (Shackford) Hicks. [his death cert says Canaan NH where he was living with his parents in 1900 in the household of his grandparents Shackford].  During WWI he served as a Seaman 3c, dying of disease at the age of just 18. His obituary (just below) describes his service best.

The Last Sad Service. The burial of Lester Harlow Hicks, son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Hicks of Hillsboro, formerly of this town [Canaan NH] was performed here with full military honors Wednesday forenoon, a detachment of Co. C soldiers awaiting the arrival of the asket on the 11 o’clock train and impressive burial service was enacted at the grave with bugle calls and rifle volleys. Seaman Hicks died at the Brooklyn Naval Hospital last week after an illness which was noted in our last issue. He had been in his country’s service but a few weeks, having enlisted April 7th. At Newport [RI] he was assigned to the Battleship Maine, contracted pneumonia and sent to the hospital for treatment, Bright’s disease resulting. He was born in Westford, Vt., March 22, 1899, and had lived in Hillsboro [NH] six years. The people both of Hillsboro and Canaan unite in their sympathy for the bereaved parents of the youg man whose life has been offered for his country just as truly as though given in battle — Canaan Reporter via the Hillsborough Messenger of 12 July 1917.  He was buried in Wells Cemetery, Canaan NH.   His name appears on the Roll of Honor in Doric Hall of the New Hampshire State House, and on the listing in the History of Hillsborough NH.

[7]  Albert Joseph Lagasse was born 12 April 1892 in Concord NH, son of Frank & Alma Mary (Dumas) Lagasse. In the 1900 US census he was living in Loudon, Merrimack Co. NH with his parents and siblings Mary, William, Victoria (she m. William Labarn) and Alice (died 1925).  Albert Joseph Lagasse completed his WWI Registration form on 5 June 1917 in Hillsboro NH. He stated he was born 12 April 1892 in Concord NH and worked in Hillsboro as a spinner in the Hillsboro Woolen Mill Co. He was 25 years old, single, and described himself as short, of medium stature with brown eyes and black hair. During WWI he served as a Private in the 325th Infantry, 82nd Division.  He was killed in action in France on 12 October 1918.  He was buried in Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery,  France.

Archibald Lavender Smith photographic portrait, ca 1917; Harvard University Library, W388412_1.

[8] Archibald Lavender Smith was born 1 February 1889 in Hillsborough, Hillsborough Co., NH, son of John B. & Emma E. (Lavender) Smith.  His father was one-time governor of New Hampshire.  At the time of his death, newspapers gave notice that he was of 278 Myrtle Street in Manchester, New Hampshire. His will was probated in Hillsborough, NH. [Read his extensive biography here]. In the Oct 9, 1918 issue of the Boston Post newspaper was the following article: “Sergeant Archibald L. Smith, older son of the late Ex-Governor John . and Mrs. Emma E. (Lavender) Smith, of Boston and Hillsborough, N.H., died in a hospital at Tours, France, Sept 21, 1918. He was born in Hillsborough, Feb 1, 1889 and graduated at Harvard College in 1911. He enlisted in the Quartermaster’s Department in the summer of 1917 and was in the 301st Company, Motor Supply Train 401, having been in France continuously since December last.He was married Nov 1, 1916 to Miss Madeleine Fellows of Manchester, who survives him, with an infant son, John Butler Smith.His mother with homes in Boston and Hillsboro and his brother, Norma B. Smith, also survive him.” [duplicate story published under Heroes of Manchester, NH this blog]. He is buried in Pine Grove Cemetery.

[9] Arthur Theophile, born Joseph Arthur Trottier was born 12 February 1895 in Manchester NH, son of Theophile Joseph & Eusebi A. “Lucy” (Bellmore) Trottier. His World War I Registration form was completed 5 June 1917 in Hillsborough NH. At that time he stated he was 22 years old, a laborer in Hillsborough NH. He was single, of medium height and stature with brown eyes and brown hair. The Hillsboro Messenger newspaper of 5 August 1920, page 1 stated: “The first body of a World War Veteran to arrive in town was that of Arthur Trottier, Deering’s contribution to the war. The body arrived Sunday night and burial services were held Monday forenoon at the Catholic Cemetery on upper School Street. A delegation of the Legion boys acted as escort. The arrival was unexpected so but few knew in season to take part in the last sad rites. At the request of the American Legion, Kirk D. Pierce made a brief address. Standing in front of the open grave, holding in his hand a large bouquet of flowers, he closed his remarks by saying “As fragrant and fresh as are these flowers, thus fragrant and fresh shall always be the Nation’s, the state’s and the American Legion’s memory of thee, my gallant friend, Arthur Trottier.” Rev. Fr. Leddy gave the burial service at the grave and the whole ceremony was very impressive. Private Trottier was the son of Theophile and Lucy Trottier and was born in Manchester Feb. 12, 1895 but had lived in Deering 12 years prior to his enlistment Feb. 11, 1918. He had been employed on farms in various places. He died May 16, 1918 in a hospital in France, having been previously wounded in the St. Mihiel campaign.” He was buried in Saint Mary’s Cemetery, Hillsboro NH.  His name is engraved on the Roll of Honor, in Doric Hall of the NH State House, and it appears on the NH Adjutant General’s list of Casualties credited to Hillsborough NH.

[10] Gleason William Young was born 2 Feb 1898 in Deering NH, son of William Lester & Marion Matilde (Smith) Young.  In 1900 he was living with his family in Deering NH, including siblings: Ruth R., Lydia, Florence, Ashbel, John, and Daniel. In 1910 he was living in Burke, Franklin Co. NY with his sister, Florence and her husband.  Gleason W. Young entered military service on 25 August 1917, and was assigned to Co. F, 103rd Infantry.  He was sent to the battlefields in Europe and was killed in action on 17 July 1918 at Chateau Thierry.  He was 20 years old.  At first he was buried near the battlefield. When the war was over, his remains were returned home on 6 August 1921 from Antwerp, Belgium to Hoboken, New Jersey aboard the ship, Wheaton.  He is buried in Appleton Cemetery, Deering, NH. His name can be seen on the Roll of Honor in Doric Hall of the New Hampshire State House.

[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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