New Hampshire WWI Military: Heroes of Bristol

1909 postcard of Fort Monroe, where
George M. Cavis was stationed prior to his
death. Property of J.W. Brown.

Forty-three men served in the World War from the town of Bristol, New Hampshire’s approximate 1600 citizens.  One made the ultimate sacrifice–1st Lieut. George Minot Cavis.

When the World War ended, the town of Bristol arranged for a plaque that would honor all veterans of the war, including George Minot Cavis. It was dedicated  in the town’s Central Square.  The Bristol Central Square is on the National Register of Historic Places Inventory.

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WWI Honor Roll of BRISTOL NH
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The Bristol NH WWI Honor Roll reads as follows [Editor’s note, items in brackets are not on the original plaque but are instead my own notes:

HONOR ROLL
PRIVILEGED TO SERVE THEIR COUNTRY
FROM
BRISTOL N H
1917 WORLD WAR 1919

*GEORGE MINOT CAVIS
BRALEY CLYDE E.
CATE HARRY G
CORNEAU HARRY
CORNEAU ARTHUR
CYR EDMUND H
DANFORTH RICHARD S [Pvt, 11th Co. Infantry from Camp Kearny, California]
DOLE JOHN W
EGGLESTON RAYMOND A
EMMONS RALPH R.
FELLOWS ROY N
GERFUSON SAMUEL
FLEER AUSTIN H
GOULD GEORGE F
HANSON ROBERT L
HARRIMAN FRED R
HARRIMAN JOHN M
HOYT ERWIN H
JEWELL WALTER B
JONES HOWARD A
KEEFER KARL R
KEEFER LEWIS M
KINLEY OLEY A  [Sgt, Headquarters Horse Detachment, 307th Ammunition Train]
LADD HAROLD M
LITTLEFIELD HARRY E
LOVEJOY JOHN O
MCINTIRE SCOTT F
MORRILL LEWIS E
NOYES WALTER L
PADDLEFORD ALBERT C
PLANKEY CHARLES M
PLANKEY ELMER C
POPE RALPH B [Pvt, Battery E-2, 54th Artillery, Coast Artillery Corps ie CAC]
QUIMBY ELLIOTT H
RICE FRANK
RICE CHARLES J [Pvt, Battery B, 301st Field Artillery]
ROBERTSON FREDERICK V
RUMSEY OSCAR T
SHEPARD WILLIAM S [Pvt., Co. L, 504th Infantry > 58th Infantry]
TIBBETTS BERNARD B
TRACY EDGAR A
WEDMER FRANK C
WHIPPLE ASHLEY P.
*DIED IN SERVICE [ASTERISK DENOTES]

Some soldiers stated that Bristol was their home town on Military Transport Passenger Lists but do not appear on the above plaque.  Their names and information follow:
— Joseph Cottage, Private, Co H 308th Infantry, National Army, brother-in-law of Andrew Hagg, Bristol NH
— Percy F. Cowan, 2nd Lt. TC, Co. A., 337th Battalion, Tank Corps, father John Cowan, Bristol NH
— Roy S. Cowan, P1C, Co. A., 23rd Engineers, father John Cowan, Bristol NH
— Earl H. Haney, Corporal, Motor Transport Co. 301, mother Winnie Haney, Bristol NH
— Harold H. Haney, P1C, Co. 6, Investigation, father H. Haney, Bristol NH
— Ned Hoyt, Pvt1C, Co G, 309th Infantry (Camp Merritt), Uncle Henry Hoyt, Bristol NH
— Philip D. Lawrence, Corporal, Co C, 301st Ammunition Train, spouse Blanch Lawrence Bristol NH
— Carl L. Patten, P1C, Bakery Company 337, Quartermasters Corps National Army, spouse Margerett W. Patten, Bristol NH
— Maxwell Shattuck, 1st Lieut, Headquarters Co. 349th Field Artillery, mother Abbie F. Shattuck, Bristol NH.
— Frank Tompkins, Colonel, Infantry, wife Mrs. Frank Tompkins c/o Burt Cavis, Bristol NH.
— Amasa S. Tracy, Band Corporal, First Army Headquarters Regiment Band, spouse Vena M. Tracy, Bristol NH.

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Hero of BRISTOL NH
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George Minot Cavis (1895-1918)
from Dartmouth College yearbook.

George Minot Cavis was born 7 December 1895 in Bristol, Grafton Co., New Hampshire, son of Karl Gordon & Bella Dana (Gurdy) Cavis.  His biography states that he attended schools in Bristol where his father was a merchant.  The 1910 U.S. Census shows him living in Bristol with his parents and siblings Susan Hortense who m. in 1928 to Charles W. Shepherd; Harriet who m. 1929 to George Austin D’Arcy; and Morton Hastings who m. Myra Esmah Pike.

In June of 1917 when George M. Cavis completed his WWI Draft Registration form, he was 21 years old. At that time he noted that he was single and in the Harvard Reserve Officers Training at Harvard University. He was of medium height, slender build, with blue eyes and brown hair. His Phillips Exeter Academy, and then his Dartmouth College biographies give details of his advanced education and military service as follows: [Phillip’s Exeter Academy Biography]

GEORGE MINOT CAVIS ’14
“Only a sweet and virtuous soul,
Like season’d timber, never gives;
But though the whole world turn to coal,

Then chiefly lives.” — George Herbert

GEORGE MINOT CAVIS was born December 7, 1895, in Bristol, New Hampshire. After an early education in the Bristol schools, he was sent to Phillips Academy in 1911, graduating three years later. He completed three years at Dartmouth College, but then enrolled in the Harvard Reserve Officers’ Training School, completing the course with credit. On December 1, 1917, he enlisted in the Coast Artillery Corps and was ordered to Fort Monroe for training. In April of the following year he received his gold shoulder bar and was assigned to Fort Andrews in Boston Harbor, as an instructor in artillery fire. In September he was promoted to be First Lieutenant and sent to Camp Devens for a short period of special study before being send overseas with the 33d Regiment. There he contracted a severe cold in a rainstorm and went home on sick leave. In Bristol pneumonia developed, and he died October 4, 1918. In speaking of his death a friend wrote–“Lieutenant Cavis was a young man of great personal charm, fine character, noble ambition, and a splendid type of Christian manhood.”

[Dartmouth College Biography]
George M. Cavis, First Lieutenant, Coast Artillery Corps.
Born Dec. 7, 1895. Prepared at Phillips Andover Academy. At Dartmouth he was a member of Sigma Chi. After leaving college he was an assistant in the store of Cavis Bros.. Co., Bristol N.H. He enlisted in the spring of 1917 in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps at Harvard. In December he enlisted in the Coast Artillery Corps and was sent to Fortress Monroe, Va., for training until April 1, 1918. He received his commission of second lieutenant and was assigned to Fort Andrews, Boston Harbor, to train men in artillery service. While at Camp Devens for a short course of special study, he contracted influenza and was allowed to go home to Bristol, where he died of pneumonia Oct. 5, 1918.

George Minot Cavis was buried with military honors in his family’s plot in Homeland Cemetery, Bristol New Hampshire.  The local American Legion organization was named in his honor.


[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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4 Responses to New Hampshire WWI Military: Heroes of Bristol

  1. Amy says:

    What a shame—I wonder what he might have accomplished in life….

    • Janice Brown says:

      World War I wiped out a generation of amazing young people. It was not just the battles but also the influenza pandemic. Who knows how the world might have been different if they had lived. This applies not just to the United States but to all the countries involved.

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

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