In front of the Silsby Pubic Library in Charlestown, New Hampshire sits a memorial to both the Civil War and World War I. The Civil War monument was placed earlier, unveiled on 6 October 1911. At that time there was no inkling that only a few years later another war, the World War, would erupt in Europe.
After the Armistice of 1918, a list was compiled and a bronze tablet bearing the names of Charlestown citizens who had served in World War I was added to the west face (rear) in 1929. The monument reads as follows, with an asterisk (star) denoting the soldier who did not return home. [Editor’s note, the comments in parentheses in the following list do not exist on the original monument, as they are notes I have added to show their service regiments. The names in brackets are those who claimed Charlestown NH as their home but they are not listed on the Charlestown NH plaque].
1917 Honor Roll 1919
DEDICATED TO THE MEN
of CHARLESTOWN NEW HAMPSHIRE
WHO SERVED THEIR COUNTRY IN THE
Maurice G. Ahern (Wagoner, 101st Ammunition Train)
Walter E. Arnold
[Duane M. Bannister] (P1c, 104th Ambulance Co., 101st Sanitary Train)
Frank H. Bashaw
Ernest A. Bixby (2nd Lieut, US Corps of Cadets West Point, NY Class of 1921 (5th Platoon)
Ernest F. Bowen
Nathaniel P. Brooks (Major, Marine Corp)
Bert A. Call
[Charles F. Chase] (Pvt, Battery E., 303rd Field Artillery)
Byron G. Clark Jr.
Harold H. Dean
Clinton G. Farrow
Howard M. Gilmore
Paul A. Goewey
Edward F. Herbert
Earl B. Holbrook (Pvt., HQ Co., 103rd Infantry)
Harold P. Hutchins
Paul L. Hutchins (P1c, 103rd Infantry)
Perl L. Hutchins
Harold L. Jones
Sidney T. Jones
Earl D. Kendall (Pvt, 58th Balloon Company, Air Service)
Byron B. Knight
James F. Mayette (Pvt, Supply Co, 103rd Infantry, 26th Div.)
Herbert F. Muzzy (Pvt, Co. E., 103rd Infantry)
Robert F. Perry
Louis C. Reed (Pvt., Company One, Army Service Corps., 31st Rents Requisition and Claims Co.)
Rolla F. Smith (Pvt., Co. F, 101st Ammunition Train)
John W. Stewart
Eliot F. Stoughton (P1c, Co B., 301st Field Signal Battalion)
Baron R. Stow (Musician 2c) HQ Co., 1st Army Headquarters Regiment)
Harry E. Sylvester
Lucius S. Tallman (Pvt, Co. E, 103rd Infantry)
Charles P. Thayer (Pvt, Co. F, 604th Engineers)
Alfred L. Tower
John E. Toye
Leroy D. Webster
Oscar D. Weld
*Roswell D. Whitcomb
Harrison W. Wilson
Hero of CHARLESTOWN NH
Died In Service During WWI
Roswell Dexter Whitcomb | First Lieut. | Died of Disease (bronchial pneumonia) 20 Oct 1918 in France | Co B, 4th Anti-Aircraft Machine Gun Bn, National Army | Forest Hill Cemetery,Charlestown NH
Roswell D. Whitcomb was born 23 April 1888 in Orford, Grafton Co. NH, son of Dexter Kenyon & Grace Celinda (Whitman) Whitcomb. In 1900 he was living with his famiy in Charlestown NH, including siblings Alice Aurelia (who m. Ralph K. Weeks) and Harriet Azella who married 1) Guy L. Worthen; m2d) Joseph Maynard Fosie. Roswell married 8 Sep 1917 at Fort Riley in Jackson Missouri to Olive E. Kendall. She was born 24 Feb 1895 Charlestown, Sullivan Co. NH, daughter of Horace S. & Abby S. (Fairbanks) Kendall. She married 2d) 28 Sep 1935 in Charlestown NH to Paul W. Glynn, son of Walter B. & Katherine (Stevens) Glynn. She d. 30 Nov 1986 in Bellows Falls VT, age 91 [earlier she owned a gift shoppe there]. She is buried Saxton’s River Cemetery.
Roswell D. Whitcomb enlisted in the U.S. Army in enlisted in 1904 in the U.S. Army (age 18-1/2). His occupation was scholar, and he is described as having brown eyes, dark brown hair, and a dark complexion. In 1910 he appears in the Cheyenne, Wyoming City Directory as a Sergeant in the U.S. Army. In 1911 he was stationed at Fort Slocum NY, Sgt. Co D, 4th Field Artillery Regiment US Army. In 1916 while stationed with the First Cavalry, he created and published a booklet on Military Cartoons. He remained in the U.S. Army until Feb 17, 1917 when he was discharged at Ft Ethan Allen VT as a Sergeant in order to re-enlist in the National Army (for WWI purposes).
He was shipped to Europe on 8 Sep 1918 aboard the ship Zeelandia and served there as a 1st Lieutenant in Co B, 4th Anti-Aircraft Machine Gun Battalion. While in France he died on 20 Oct 1918 of disease, broncho-pneumonia officially, however probably due to having contracted influenza. Roswell Whitcomb’s body was shipped home after the war ended, aboard the ship, Wheaton departing Antwerp Belgium on 26 April 1921. His re-interment certificate states that he was buried in Forest Hill Cemetery, Charlestown, New Hampshire.
[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].