New Hampshire WWI Military: Heroes of Plymouth and Rumney

The Grafton County towns of Plymouth and Rumney are adjacent to each other, Rumney being the northernmost of the two. Throughout their history they have shared citizens as many were born in one town and removed to the other. It does not belittle the service of their people to combine the two into one story that recognizes their war dead. The U.S. Army Transport Service Passenger Lists provide us with a partial compilation of those who served in Europe during World War I.

Old postcard, Cow Bells, Plymouth, New Hampshire. Property of the blog editor.

—PLYMOUTH—
– Merton Archibald, P1c, 2nd Unit, Battery D, 54th Coast Artillery Corps. Brother Stanley Archibald.
– Vance B. Beatty, Private, Battery B, 13th Field Artillery; father Lepry M. Beatty
– Ernest L. Bell, Second Lieutenant, Casuals Infantry USR, mother Maud C. Bell
– Minerva Blaisdell, Civilian Employee, Nurse, US Base Hospital No. 1, father Judson A. Blaisdell
– Charles J. Bolduc, Co C, 14th Engineers (L.R.), Mother Elma Bolduc.
– John A. Dustin, Private, Co. E, 103rd Infantry; mother Mrs. Joseph Dustin
– Clarence R. Hatch, P1c, St. Nazaire Casual Co. #1636; mother Mildred Hatch.
– Wilhelmina R. Kenniston, Civilian Aide, YMCA, father John Kenniston
– Carl H. Lyford, P1c, 485th Aero Construction Squadron, Air Service father William Lyford
– Marshall C. Pratt, Pvt, Battery F, Field Artillery; Father O.M. Pratt
– William A. Sargent, 2nd Lieut., 309th M.G. Battalion, Zeppelin No. 5; Father John A. Sargent (Casuals, Sick & Wounded)
– Archie McQ Spencer, 2nd Lieut, HQ 1st Replacement Depot; Father Louis A. Spencer
– Solon Stevens, Pvt, Supply Co., 303rd Infantry >> Co G, 164th Infantry; mother Hazel Stevens.
– Jerome P. Webster, 1st Lieut, Medical Detachment, 1st CAS Regiment; Father Lorin Webster.
– James S. Whitcher, Pvt., Co.A, 303rd Infantry; mother C.E. Whitcher.
– Almon G. Wood, Pvt., 103rd Infantry, St. Aignan Casual Co. No 915 Maine; father Elmer J. Wood
– Charles L. Woodman, Musician, HQ Co., 103rd Infantry; father Charles W. Woodman.

Rumney New Hampshire, NH Historical Society photograph. Kilburn Brothers stereograph.

—RUMNEY—-
– George M. Ashley Jr., Pvt CAC, Co. E, 65th Artillery; Mother Anna B. Ashley.
– Fred O. Bickford, Private, Co. E, 103rd Infantry; father Charles D. Spaulding.
– Clarence Bunker, Pvt, 5th Field Artillery, Casuals; nok Edna Bunker.
– Harry A. Downing, Pvt, Prov. Salvange Co., AEC (Lemans Causal Company 1714); father William Downing
– Percy H. Elliott, P1c, Co B, 309th Infantry, father Edward J. Elliott
– Fred Johnston, Corporal, HQ Det. Bassens; Bordeaux Casual Co. No 1599; brother Mr. W.J. McKee
– William A. Jones, Corp., 16th Co. Transportation Corps; guardian Mr. James E. Wright
– Harold George Percy, Sergt, Co. 13, 1st Motor Mechanic Regiment, Signal Corps 36; father George Ernest Percy
– George T. Ray, Corporal, QMC, Motor Truck Company 533, Motor Supply Train 426.

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Heroes of  PLYMOUTH & RUMNEY NH
Died In Service During WWI

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At least six men from Plymouth and Rumney NH made the ultimate sacrifice, by giving up their lives. Their stories follow.

Charles O. Barnard | Fireman 2c | Died of Disease [pneumonia/influenza] [1]
Otto L. Durand | Corporal | Died of Accident [2]
Joseph N. Smith | Private | Killed in Action [3]
Willie J. Bacon | Private | Died of Disease [4]
Arthur N Downing | Private | Died of Disease [5]
Owen B. Lamott | Private | Killed in Action [6]
John Ralph Goodwin | Private | Died of Disease [7]

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[1] Charles Oliver Barnard was born 30 August 1890 in Plymouth, New Hampshire son and second child of Wesley G. & Eveline (Sanborn) Barnard. In the 1900 U.S. Census he is shown living with his parents and sibling John C. Barnard. He completed his WWI Registration form on 5 June 1917 in Plymouth NH, stating he was farming for himself. He claimed occupation and physical disability as a reason for a military exemption. He describes himself as of medium height, stout with blue eyes and light brown hair.

Detroit Publishing Co., Publisher. A Ward in Brooklyn Navy Yard Hospital. New York, None. [Between 1890 and 1901] Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress

Apparently the day he filled out his military registration form, he entered service in the U.S. Navy. A lengthy eulogy on a find-a-grave site states: “Charles was detailed to the U.S.S. America on transport duty. From Fireman 3d Class, he was promoted December 1917 to Fireman 2nd Class. On a return trip he contracted pneumonia and was removed to the Brooklyn Naval Hospital where he died April 6, 1919.” [SEE the Find- A-Grave Site for more about his funeral].  The U.S. Naval History web site gives details on his service: “BARNARD, CHARLES OLIVER, Fireman, 2nd class, (father, Wesley J Barnard, Plymouth, N H; enlisted Boston, Mass, July 5, 1917), Naval Hospital, New York, N Y, respiratory disease, April 6, 1918.”  He is buried in his family’s plot in Riverside Cemetery, Plymouth, New Hampshire. Charles O. Barnard’s name is listed on the Roll of Honor in Doric Hall, New Hampshire State House.

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The Arsenal, U.S. Armory, Springfield MA. Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Co. Collection.

[2] Otto Lougee Durand was born 12 August 1891 in Plymouth NH, son of Louis N. & Mary Alberta (Lougee) Durand.  In 1900 and 1910 he was living in Plymouth NH with his parents and siblings Leo D. Durand and Herman Freeman Durand. By January of 1918 he was serving as a Corporal in the U.S. Army serving at the Springfield Arsenal.  On 16 January 1918 he died at nearby Hampden Hospital in Springfield MA. His death record shows: “Death Accidental, compound comminuted fracture of right tibia and fibula, due to being crushed between gate and freight car. General septicemia and septic pneumonia.  His body was returned home to Plymouth NH where he was buried with honors in Riverside Cemetery, Plymouth NH.  His name is engraved on the NH WWI Honor Roll, in Doric Hall of the NH State House.

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Two scenes aboard the U.S.A.T. St. Mihiel. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

[3] Joseph Newton Smith was born July 1898 in Thornton, New Hampshire, son of Joseph H. & Mandala Bird (Dearborn) Smith.  In 1900 the U.S. Census shows Joseph N. Smith living in Thornton NH with parents, and siblings Mary O. (who married Newton Bert Avery), Elgena I (who married Bert Smith) and Margaret E (who married Herman P. Howland).  The September 1918 newspapers announced his death. SMITH, Private Joseph N.,  Co C, 103d Infantry . He was killed in action on 20 July 1918 in France.  He is credited to Plymouth NH by the NH Adjutant General.  The U.S. Military Transport Passenger Lists show him on a list of “Remains of Overseas Dead” being returned to the United States from Antwerp Belgium aboard the Ship, St. Mihiel.  Private Joseph N. Smith is listed a member of Co. C, 103rd Infantry, with service number 67519, arriving in Brooklyn NY on 16 December 1921.   His funeral from the Plymouth Record newspaper is detailed in a non-burial notice on Find-a-grave here.    He lies buried in Woodstock Cemetery, Woodstock, Grafton Co. NH.  His name is engraved on the NH Honor Roll in the State House.

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[4] Willie J. Bacon
was born “Joseph Welman Bacon” on 14 March 1894 in Rumney NH. He served during WWI in 103rd Field Artillery. He died 16 December 1918 in France of influenza and is buried there in St. Mihiel American Cemetery.  [SEE STORY HERE for more photographs and details.]

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[5] Arthur Nicholas Downing
was born 19 January 1890 in Rumney NH, son of William W. & Carrie (Glidden) Downing. In 1900 the U.S. Census shows him living in Rumney NH with his parents and brothers, George and Harry. Arthur N. Downing married 29 Nov 1908 at Ellsworth NH to Mary Lashna, daughter of Frank & Mary (Smith) Lashna. Their son George William Downing was b 5 April 1919 Rumney NH and d. 8 Sep 1924 in Canaan NH of cholera, aged 5y 4m 3d [born after his father died].  Arthur N. Downing completed his WWI Registration form in Rumney NH on 5 June 1917 stating he was a laborer for G.C. Craig of Rumney NH. He was married with a child. He was of medium height and stout stature with dark brown eyes and brown hair.  Arthur M. Downing was called into military service, and he was a Private, in Headquarters Co., Depot Battalion at Camp Devens when he contracted influenza. That developed into pneumonia, and he died during  on 24 September 1918 in the Base Hospital of Camp Devens in Harvard MA.  His death certificate states his body was taken to Rumney Maine for burial, but I believe this is an error. He is  PROBABLY buried in Highland Cemetery, Rumney NH in his family’s burial plot.

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“The Doughboy,”

[6] Owen B. Lamott was born 28 June 1888 in New Hampshire, son of David & Lavina (Jenks) Lamott.  In the 1900 U.S. Census he was living in Lyme NH with parents, and siblings Charles, May C., Ellen M., Frank H. and Belle.  During WWI he served in Co. E., 103rd Infantry. He was Killed in Action on 17 July 1918 per the NH Adjutant General’s List of WWI Casualties.   He is buried in Old Lyme Cemetery, Lyme, Grafton Co. NH.  The tombstone reads: OWEN B. LaMOTT | New Hampshire |  Pvt 1 CL 103 INF. | 26 DIV. |
July 17, 1918. A second Find-a-grave listing (unknown burial) provides newspaper information and details: “News came on Monday of the death in action on July 17th of Owen B Lamott of the 103rd Infantry, which has a long list of casualties. >The Plymouth Record, August 10, 1918.” [To read more].

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[7] John Ralph Goodwin
was born 25 Oct 1888 in Warren NH, son of Charles Burton & Nellie E. (Morey) Goodwin. In the 1900 U.S. Census he was living with his family in Laconia NH, including siblings Charles M. (b Nov 1891) and Blanche E. (b May 1897). John Ralph Goodwin married 10 Oct 1912 in Piermont NH to Christine Edith “Christie” Morrison, daughter of H. Eugene & Ida M. (Robie) Morrison. They had a son, John Floyd Goodwin, b. Plymouth NH, m. Ruth Elizabeth Jewell; and a daughter Doris Ruberta Goodwin (b 1914, married Robert B. Murphy. John R. Goodwin completed his WWI Registration form on 5 June 1917 at Plymouth NH. He was living in Plymouth working as a post office clerk. He was married, a wife and 2 children.  During WWI he was sent to Camp Johnston in Jacksonville FL.  While there he contracted measles that developed into pneumonia over the course of 22 days.  He died at the Base Camp Hospital there on 1 February 1918. His death certificate lists him simply as “Soldier.”  He was buried in South Lawn Cemetery, Piermont NH on 11 Feb 1918.   His name can be found on the NH WWI Honor Roll, Doric Hall, NH State House, Concord.

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[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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