New Hampshire WWI Military: Heroes of Pittsfield

1919 Old Home Day parade of veterans in
Pittsfield New Hampshire. Granite State
Monthly magazine.

In August of 1919 the town of Pittsfield New Hampshire held its (then) grandest Old Home Day celebration. The young men and women of the town who had served in the military and other service capacities were recently home from the World War (now called World War I).  A plaque was being dedicated to all those who served.

It was not just the soldiers who were applauded that day. An account of the food production during the war was announced. A Granite State Magazine story by Edward Scott on this event stated: “There were forty war gardens which yielded vegetables for many families for the fall and winter. The use of the land was furnished free; its preparation for planting and, where necessary seed were also free. The farmers of the town did excellent service by increasing food production and the wheat crops were much greater than in previous years.

The guest speakers at Old Home Days also spoke of “Work in the Trenches at Home,” by the Red Cross and some of the town’s Women Committees such as Mrs. Newman Durrell, Knitting and Sewing; Mrs. Courtland Freese and Miss Lillian Elkins, Surgical Dressings; Mrs. William B. Ely, Women’s Liberty Loan, also Home Nursing, and the piano and musical leaders.

All the soldier volunteers were praised, but emphasis was placed on the six boys “who made the supreme sacrifice–four of them sleeping in France and two at home: Earl W. Cram, Ezra Dupuis, Alpha J. Danis, William A. Peterson, William E. Smith and Fred W. Sleeper.” In the afternoon there was a “procession of the enlisted men” that began at 1:15 pm at the Washington House Square and led by the Pittsfield American Band, they paraded to, and stopped at the Carpenter Memorial Library where the honor roll tablet exercises took place.   The plaque was dedicated with these words: “Enduring bronze perpetuates our knowledge, through unborn generations, that Pittsfield breeds and fosters the type of Americans who have proven they may be relied upon to the death, when the liberties of the world are threatened.This  tablet bears the many names of our youth who had their rebirth in the baptism of that cataclysm, six giving their lives. Here in imperishable metal is inscribed the proudest , most grateful record any Community may make, hold inviolate and pass on to be received as sacred heritage by posterity. Ma y the rays of the morning sun, as it strikes through the casement across its bettered face, glinting, warming, each separate name flashing each Golden Star, surcharge this cold metal, until vitalized with a compelling magnetism, mute yet eloquent, it becomes as the very voice of Destiny, giving forth its quickening message of loyalty, service, sacrifice for County and Humanity: To all who may follow. Even as we have followed — This, WE ALSO GAVE–THAT YOU MAY ALSO GIVE.”

Pittsfield NH Town Hall

My thanks to Sabrina Smith of the Josiah Carpenter Library in Pittsfield, New Hampshire for helping me to discover the present location of the WWI plaque and for referrals to others in Pittsfield who might help.  Today, the WWI plaque is affixed to a brick pillar in front of the Pittsfield Town Hall [see directions].   In 1974 another monument was erected in the front of Dustin Park commemorating all those who served in World War I & II, Korea and Vietnam [so actually there are now two WWI monuments].

The original WWI plaque dedicated
in Pittsfield NH in 1919 from the
Granite State Monthly magazine.

NAMES ON THE MEMORIAL TABLET
1917 Honor Roll 1919
Erected by the Citizens of Pittsfield in grateful memory of her sons who served their country in the World War.
Adams, John V.
Adams, Paul
Adams, William A.
Bachelder, Clifton R.
Barton, Clarence L.
Bates, Kenneth C.
Blackstone, Earl W.
Bouchard, Dosilva M.
Brandt, Carl G.
Brock, Charles H.
Brock, Scott W.
Brown, Sidney H.
Buffum, Frank H.
Carr, Burt W.
Carr, Raymond L.
Caswell, Burton J.
Cheney, Clifford A.
Clark, John S>
Cote, Alfred
*Cram, Earl W.
Creasey, Norman
Crocker, John M.
Cronin, Edward A.
Commings, Mack
Cutler, Lew S.
Cutler, Scott A.
*Danis, Alpha J.
Desgranges, Joseph L.
Dion, Nazaire,
Doughty, Sidney C.
Drake, James Frank
Drollet, Oregnore
Drollet Osee J.
Drollet, Rosaire V.
Dubuc, Philias N.
Ducette, Alexe E.
*Dupuis, Ezra
Emerson, Fred E.
Emerson, Richard C.
Emerson, Warren E.
Feuerstein, Abraham
Folsom, Hiram Tuttle
Freese, George E.
French, Scott
Garland, RIchard R.
Genest, William J.
Girouard, Louis H.
//
Glines, Charles E.
Goodwin, Cyrus Jr.
Goodwin, Leslie R.
Hall, Edmund A.
Hall, Everett A.
Hast, Augustus T.
Helnis, Alfred
Heywood, W. Harold
Hill, Carroll E.
Hodgdon, Charles E>
Houle, Edmund
Jackson, David F.
Joy, George E.
Joy, Harvey W.
Laro, Emaile J.
Ledu, John M.
Mitchell, Ralph G.
Nutter, Franklin H.
Oshier, William E.
Page, Albert E.
Pellissier, Adelard R.
*Peterson, William A.
Philbrick, George H.
Picard, Albe
Potter, Waldo B.
Prescott, Frank W.
Raymond, Charles J.
Reil, Fred J.
Robbins, Ivan .
Sargent, Arthur F.
Sargent, Ralph L.
Scott, Robert C.
*Sleeper, Fred W.
Smith, Clifton A.
Smith, Roland A.
*Smith, W.E.
Smith, Ernest M.
Steele, Ralph E.
Tasker, William M.
Towle, Edward L.
Vien, Willliam L.
Weeks, Chester R.
Weldon, Everett D.
Weldon, Russell F.
Wheeler, Vernon E.
Yeaton, Conrad D.
Yeaton, Ivan A.
Yorke, Arthur E.

✫★✫★✫★✫★✪🌟✪✫★✫★✫★✫★
Heroes of PITTSFIELD NH
Died In Service During WWI

✫★✫★✫★✫★✪🌟✪✫★✫★✫★✫★

The names of those marked on the WWI Roll of honor with an asterisk (*) indicating they died in service.

Earl W. Cram |Private | Killed in Action 4 Oct 1918 France |  Co. L 303rd Infantry > 18th Infantry Regiment|Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery, France, Plot E Row 23 Grave 15 | [1]
Alpha J. Danis |Soldier|Died of Disease 26 Sep 1918 Camp Devens, Harvard MA | U.S. Army Training Camp | Mt. Calvary Cemetery, Pittsfield NH | [2]
Ezra Dupuis*  |Private |Killed in Action 23 October 1918 France |348th Tr. Art. Bat. |Green Grove Cemetery, Ashland NH | [3]
William A. Peterson |Private | Died 22 July 1918, of wounds received in action (on 20 July) France |Co. A, 104th Inf., 26th Div  | Aisne-Marne American Cemetery  | [4]
Fred W. Sleeper* |Saddler |Died of disease (pneumonia, influenza) 27 October 1918 US Army Base Hospital, Fort Sam Houston, Texas, San Antonio, Bexar Co. TX  | Troop K, 14th Cavalry, U.S. Army|Floral Park Cemetery, Pittsfield NH | [5]
W.E. Smith | Private | Died of Disase 26 January 1919 at Gievres, France | Advance Animal Transport Depot 1, Section B | Oise-Aisne American Cemetery, France| [6]

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

[1] Earl W. Cram was born 22 August 1893 in Pittsfield NH son of Harry E. & Mary Clara “Mamie” (Tucker) Cram. [Note: she m2d Walter G. Elkins].  In 1900 he was living in Pittsfield NH in the household of his Tucker grandparents. By 1910 he was living with his mother and step-father, Walter Ekins. He had siblings Addie F. and Mary M. His WWI Registration form was completed 5 June 1917 at Concord NH where he was living at 23 Montgomery Street. He was employed as a laborer for the Stores Dept. of the B&M Railroad in Concord NH. He describes himself as single, of medium height and stature, with blue eyes and brown hair. “Earle W. Cram” enlisted in the U.S. Army during WWI and left for Europe from Boston MA aboard the ship Derbyshire on 8 July 1918. At that time he was assigned as a Private in Company I or L, 303rd Infantry, Service Number: 2722948.   While in Europe he was killed in action on 4 Oct 1918 in France.  He was buried at the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery in Plot E Row 23 Grave 15.   His name appears on the Roll of Honor in Doric Hall of the NH State House, and on the Pittsfield NH WWI plaque.

[2] Alpha J. Danis was born 22 Sep 1896 in Pittsfield, Merrimack Co. NH, son of Joseph H. & Arline B. (Constant) Danis. In 1900 and 1910 the U.S. Census shows him living in Pittsfield NH with his parents.  His siblings include Fedor Fred (who m. Catherine Driscoll) Orvid, Arthur Joseph (m. Lillian Roberge), Florence (m. Charles E. Green), Cora (m. Herbert F. Geisel) and Amanda (m. Alfred Belanger).  He completed his WWI Registration form on 5 June 1918 at Frankin NH. His residence was Pittsfield NH, working there for Adams Brothers. Nearest kin: Joseph H. Danis of Pittsfield. Described himself as being of medium height and stature with brown eyes and black hair.   He enlisted and was sent to Camp Devens MA for training. He was not there long before he contracted influenza which developed into pneumonia.  He died at the Camp hospital on 26 September 1918, at the age of 21.  His death certificate shows his body was sent home for burial in the Catholic Cemetery, Mount Calvary Cemetery, in Pittsfield NH. Alpha J. Danis’ name appears on the Roll of Honor in the New Hampshire State House, and on the Pittsfield NH WWI plaque.

Photograph of Ezra Dupuis. Used with permission of the photographer.

[3] Ezra Dupuis was born 6 July 1892 in Pittsfield NH, son of Edward & Aimee “Amy” “Annie” (Chenevert) Dupuis. In the 1900 U.S. census he is living in Pittsfield with his parents and siblings: Mary, Joseph, Patrick (who m. Lena Minnon), Delia, Meduice “Mamie” (who m. Oliver J. Bryant), Reila “Hilda”, Richard, Albina “Abbie” (who m. George C. Dicey), Wilfred (who m. Carrie A. Cook), and Roselina (who m. Omer C. Jacques).  Ezra Dupuis’ WWI Registration form was completed on 5 June 1917 in Westboro NH. He was 25 years old and employed as an attendant at the State Insurance Hospital atWestboro MA, Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He describes himself as being short and stout with blue eyes and brown hair.  He enlisted in the U.S. Army and served as a Private in the 348th Tr. Art. Bat. He was killed in action in France in Boisson Bois, north of Brabant sur Meuse by a German shell on on the morning of October 23, 1918. At first he was buried near the battlefield.   When the war ended, his remains were returned to the United States departing Antwerp Belgium on 20 September 1921 aboard the ship, Wheaton. His service number was 582113.  He was buried in Green Grove Cemetery, Ashland NH.  His name appears on the Roll of Honor in the NH State House and on the Pittsfield NH WWI plaque.

[4] William A. Peterson  was born 6 Feb 1885 at Leedhult, Sweden, son of Andrew P. (deceased in 1918) and Anna C. Peterson, of Lynn, 1920. At the time of his death he was credited by the newspapers to Manchester NH, where his brother Sidney lived and had a family, however he is not listed on either the NH Adjutant’s List nor on the WWI Honor Roll. He had only been a resident of Massachusetts for a year, though he entered National Guard Service from there. From the August 3, 1918 Boston Post: “Another Manchester N.H. man to die from wounds is Private William A. Peterson. He was a member of the 104th Infantry. He died July 22. He was 34 years old and served in the cavalry at the time of the Mexican trouble. Private Peterson enlisted from Pittsfield NH  where he lived after removing from Manchester a short time before he entered the service.”  The following is from Gold Star Record of Massachusetts: Peterson, William A., died 22 July 1918, of wounds received in action [20 July, shell fire, near Belleau]. He enlisted 21 June 1916, Co. A., 2nd Inf, Mass, N.G. Served on the Mexican order. Reported for duty 25 March 1917, mustered 30 March, Co. A, 2nd Inf., Mass N.G. (Co. A, 104th Inf., 26th Div). Overseas 5, Oct 1917. He was born 6 Feb 1885 at Leedhult, Sweden, son of Andrew P. (deceased) and Anna C. Peterson, of Lynn, 1920; brother of Sidney of Manchester NH and Mrs. Mary E. Mann of Lynn. Lineman. Resident in Massachusetts one year. [copied from a similar entry on the Manchester NH WWI page on this blog].  He is buried in Aisne-Marne American Cemetery, France Plot B Row 3 Grave 12, credited to Massachusetts.

Photo of Fred Wheeler Sleeper,
provided by his granddaughter
Sylvia Sleeper.

[5] Fred Wheeler Sleeper was born 12 Feb 1885 in Alton NH, son of Eben G.  & Anne E. (Glidden) Sleeper. In 1900 he was living with his parents in Beverly MA, a student. He appears to have been an only child.  Fred W. Sleeper married 4 Apr 1908 in Pittsfield NH to Amy T. Maxfield, daughter of Austin C. Maxfield & S. Gladys Hooper. They had children: Fred Franklin Sleeper (1910-1998) & Velna Beatrice Sleeper (1913-1965).  [After his death his widow Amy Frances Maxfield m2d (by 1931) to John Francis Barry. They had 2 children John Barry (1931-1972) and Richard J. Barry (1932-1951). She d. 9 July 1978 in Framingham MA.].  During WWI Fred W. Sleeper served as a saddler in  Troop K, 14th Cavalry, U.S. Army at Fort Sam Houston TX.  While there he contracted influenza, that resulted in pneumonia and he died 27 October 1918 at the US Army Base Hospital, Fort Sam Houston, Texas, San Antonio, Bexar Co. TX. His service number was 1013660.  His body was shipped home at the request of his wife, and buried in Floral Park Cemetery, Pittsfield NH.   His name appears on the Roll of Honor in Doric Hall of the NH State House and on the Pittsfield NH WWI plaque.

[6] William Everett Smith was born 12 Sep 1886 in Pittsfield NH, son of William I. & Mary Emma “Emma M.” (Emerson) Smith. In the 1900 U.S. Census he was living in Loudon NH and in 1910 Pittsfield NH with his parents and siblings Walter D and Ernest M. Smith. He completed his WWI Registration form at New Bedford MA. He was 30 years old and living at 101 New South Street, a watch maker for M.E. Cartier of New Bedford. He was single. and describes himself as being tall, of medium stature with brown eyes and black hair.  The Gold Star Mothers of Massachusetts book stated the following: Smith, William Everett, died 26 January 1919 at Gievres of disease.Enlisted 9 Dec 1917, Q.M.C. Detachment, Fort Slocum; 12 Dec to Motor Repair Co. 1, Q.M.C. Camp Johnston; 21 March 1918 to April Replacement Draft; 8 May to Advance Animal Transport Depot 1, Section B. Overseas 9 April 1918. He was foster son of Mrs. Jennie M. Perkins of Everett [MA], brother of W.D. and Ernest. Watchmaker. Resident in Massachusetts eleven years.” William Everett Smith was buried in Oise-Aisne American Cemetery, France, Plot B, Row 17, Grave 2.

 


[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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