New Hampshire WWI Military: Heroes of Farmington

“Keep ’em smiling!” Help War Camp Community Service poster. Created by the U.S. War Department, 1918. National Archives on Flickr.

On April 6, 1917 the U.S. formally entered the First World War. The Farmington (NH) News newspaper that was published the same day seemed quiet tame for headlines, except for page 4 where “DANGER FROM GERMAN INVASION” explained why New Hampshire should be concerned about an enemy attack. By August of 1917 the news was full of recruitment articles and indoctrination war stories. A letter to the women of New Hampshire requested 500 knitted outfits–a sleeveless sweater, a muffler and a pair of wristlets to be sent to the men of the battleship “New Hampshire.” The residents of Farmington “did their bit” to support the troops, and to follow the food and good restrictions placed on them in order to supply the war with same. Liberty bond drives were held, and Red Cross fund raising begun.

At least 82 men left to serve in various branches of the military, on land, sea and air. Of those two would never return alive to their home town–Clarence Leroy Perkins and Maurice P. Potvin.

When the Armistice was declared on 11 November 1918, those in service did not return immediately.  It took months before the soldiers, nurses and hospital crews began to return to the United States.  Farmington, like many other New Hampshire towns and cities, began to prepare to welcome them.  In September of 1919 the Farmington News asked “why is Farmington lagging behind” in creating an American Legion Post, and the suggestion made there to name it in honor of Private Clarence L. Perkins the first Farmington boy to be killed in action…

Farmington Town Hall. The WWI honor roll monument sits in front of this building. Old postcard property of J.W. Brown

But things take time. The Farmington News of 18 June 1920 announced the good news that finally a monument was being prepared to recognize those who served.  The story read: “NAMES OF EX-SERVICE MEN / FOR MEMORIAL TABLET. As voted by an appropriation in the 1919 March meeting and further sanctioned by an added appropriate of $100 at the last meeting, Farmington is to erect a bronze memorial tablets, as a permanent memorial to its sons who served in the world war. It is proposed to have indelibly inscribed or embossed in relief upon the face of the tablet, the name of every man who was inducted into the service from this town, and as the matter is to come up for immediate attention, the names of all those who rendered military or naval service at any time between the dates of April 6, 1917 and November 11, 1918 will be made available for such use to the chairman of the board of selectman, Frank A. Adams, at once. Therefore the names of Farmington men on the honor roll of the “News” between those dates are being published herewith. Any names omitted or anyone having any information of any Farmington men entitled to this honor should communicate the fact to Mr. Adams at once in order to secure his just tribute. The list is as follows: [Editor’s note: I’ve included all these names since some appear here but not on the actual monument]:  Clarence L. Perkins, Maurice P. Potvin, Charles R. Blodget, Dean L. Stevens, Chester A. Stevens, Fred O. Tibbetts, Samuel S. Stanley, Treffle Marcoux, Edward T. Willson, Leon Parkhust, Hubert R. Haddock, William I. Emerson, Everett W. Emerson, Sumner Pike, Alfred Grenier, George C. Rogers, Orrin Lougee, Malcolm Perkins, Lloyd Card, Edwin Johnson, Wilfred Gilbert, Dean Burleigh, Irving J. Abbott, Arnold Cheney, Ralph C. Holder, Charles A. Barrett, Albert F. Irving, Fred O. Babb, John E. Knox, Charles R. Carr, Ralph J. Chesley, Richard K. Simpson, Leslie E. Ham, Llewellyn L. Lowell, Clifford T. Drew, Alfred Bolduc, A. Leon Wentworth, Richard L. Hayes, Edgar Tetherly, Earle M. Tuttle, Earl W. Irish, Fred R. Spear, Lewis F. Gilsop, Chester E. Russell, Jeremiah E. Smart, Luther E. Perkins, Paul LePage, George R. Currier, James W. Locke, Vertie Gilman, Louis D. Harrison, Harold Rollins, Raymond Gilbert, Philip Carter, Herbert Howard, Charles Goodwin, Ralph Maurice, Ray B. Currier, Leon P. Rollins, Clarence Blaisdell, Alfred W. Clair, Ross Glass, Fred Hunt, Harry Pike, Fred W. Remick, Walter Works, Burton Hale, Roland Kimball, Guy Carey, Ralph E. Cloutman, Fred E. Cathcart, Ralph Richards, John Ring, Percy Stanley, Henry A. King, Harry Knox, Clarence Nevers, Ralph Colomy, Walter E. Young, Alfred Marcoux.”

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Farmington New Hampshire’s WWI Honor Roll is located in front of the Town Hall at 356 Main Street. It was dedicated in 1920 to those who served in both the Spanish American War and World War I. The transcription follows. Comments in brackets [ ] are not found on the honor roll, but rather are my added research comments.

HONOR ROLL
TO THEIR COUNTRY IN TIME OF NEED
THESE MEN PLEDGED THEIR LIVES
THEIR FORTUNES AND THEIR SACRED HONOR
1898 SPANISH WAR 1902
John Davis Everett Noyes
Arthur G Hayes Charles Peabody
George Jones Frank Scruton

1914 WORLD WAR 1919
/left column/
Irving J. Abbott
Fred O. Babb
Charles A. Barrett
Charles R. Bodge
Alfred Bolduc
Dean Burleigh
Lloyd Card
Guy Carey
Charles R. Carr
Philip Carter
Fred F. Cathcart
Arnold Cheney [Arnold J.H. Cheney son of Owen W. Cheney. Private, Co. E, 315 Ammunition Train, Horsed Section, 90th Division. Service No. 2460423, departed NY for Europe on ship Louisville on 6 July 1918, returned 8 June 1919 at Boston MA]
Ralph J. Chesley
Alfred W. Clair
Ralph E. Cloutman
Ralph Colomy
George R. Currier [son of Sadie Currier. Private, Battery C, 61st Artillery, CAC, departed Newport VA on 18 July 1918 for Europe on ship Wilhelmina]
Ray B. Currier
Clifford T. Drew
Everett W. Emerson
William I Emerson [Son of Mary E. Nute. Corporal, Co C, 326th,Field Signal Battalion. Departed Newport News VA on 14 Aug 1918 ship K. Den Nederlanden. Returned home Sergeant Rank, from Brest France to Hoboken NJ on ship Mobile arriving 27 June 1919]
Raymond Gilbert
Wilfred Gilbert
Vertle Gilman
Lewis F. Gilson
Ross Glass
Charles Goodwin [Charles E. Goodwin son of John F. Goodwin, Private in Supply Co., 309th Infantry, 78th Division. Service Number 1749221. Departing Brooklyn NH for Europe on ship Mentor, on 19 May 1918. Returned from Bordeaux in 1919 in ship Lancaster]
Alfred Grenier
Hubert R. Haddock [Son of Howard R. Haddock. Bugler, Troop G, Second Cavalry. Departed Hoboken NJ for Europe on 22 March 1918 on ship Martha Washington. Service Number 575229. Returned from St. Nazaire, France on ship Ryndam, arriving in Hoboken NJ on 29 June 1919]
Burton Hale
Leslie E. Ham
Louis D. Harrison
Richard L. Hayes
Ralph C. Holder
Herbert Howard
Fred Hunt
Earle W. Irish [wife, Gladys Irish. Private 1st Class, Battery E-4, 54th Artillery, Coast Artillery Corps. Returned from Brest France, arriving Boston MA on ship Vedic 7 March 1919.]
Albert F. Irving
Edwin Johnson
Roland Kimball
Henry A. King

/right column/
Harry Knox
John E. Knox
Paul LePage [A native of Edmunton, New Brunswick, he served in the British Army prior to WWI, coming to US in 1916; on 20 Dec 1917 enlisted in the coast artillery of the US Army, served first at Fort Leavitt, Portland Maine. Sent to France with the 1st Army Corps of the A.E.F. serving 11 months, discharged in January 1919. He died in January of 1925, aged 33].
James W. Locke [grandmother, Mrs. L.M. Wiggin. Private, Co H, 103rd Infantry, departing NY NY on 25 sep 1917 ship Saxonia]
Orrin Lougee
Llewellyn L. Lowell
Alfred Marcous
Theffle Marcoux [Brother Odule Marcoux. Private, Camp Meade Replacement Unit No. 27. Departed Hoboken NJ, ship Pocohontas 5 Jan 1920. Returned from Antwerp Belgium to Hoboken NJ on ship Somme arriving 14 March 1921. Private HQ TR AFG].
Ralph Maurice
CLarence Nevers
Harry Nute
Leon Parkhurst [Leon Waldo Parkhurst son of Frank W. Parkhurst. Private, Base Veterinary Hospital No. 1, Departing Hoboken NJ on 16 Apr 1918 for Europe. Veterinarian Unit. Returned from Brest France arriving Boston MA on ship President Grant on 9 June 1919, Rank FAR VC. Service Number 1, 672,828.].
Winfield S. Edgerly
*Clarence L. Perkins
Luther E. Perkins
Malcolm M. Perkins
Harry Pike
Sumner Pike
John Pinkham
*Maurice P. Potvin
Fred W. Remick
Ralph Richards
John Ring
George C. Rogers
Harold Rollins
Leon P. Rollins
Chester E. Russell
Richard K. Simpson [Son of William Simpson. Sgt.1/c Q.M.C.N.A. Machine Shop Truck Unit No. 365, Q. 206 3rd phase. Departed Hoboken NJ for Europe on 15 July 1918 ship Northern Pacific. Returned home Service Park Unit 365 from Brest France arriving in the USA on 22 June 1919, NOK: Robert A. Tankersley, uncle. ship Mallory, HR, service number 1112,022.]
Jeremiah E. Smart
Fred R. Spear
Percy Stanley
Samuel S. Stanley [Son of Samuel Stanley. Private, Co B. 103rd Machine Gun Battalion. Returned from Brest France arriving in Boston MA on 17 April 1919 on ship Patricia. Service Number 110,193].
Chester A. Stevens
Dean L. Stevens
Edger Tetherly
Fred O. Tibbetts
Earle M. Tuttle
Everett E. Walker
A. Leon Wentworth
Edward T. Willson [father E.T. Willson. Second Lieut, Co F, 168th Infantry. Departing NYC for Europe on 23 Nov 1917, ship Baltic. Returned as 1st Lt. HQ 1st Replacement Depot, nok mother Jessie H. Willson. From Brest France to NY NY on ship La Touraine arriving 24 July 1919].
Walter Works
Walter E. Young
– Erected by the town of Farmington –

Edgerly Park, Farmington NH from old postcard of J.W. Brown. The land was donated to the town by James B. Edgerly in 1889 with the condition that a veterans monument would be placed here. Memorial Day events have been held here for over 100 years.

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More Farmington-Connected Servicemen
The U.S. Military Transport Passenger Lists of those WWI servicemen who were transported to Europ and back, provide more names of those who identified Farmington NH as their home town. These names do not appear on the official Honor Roll.
Charles J. Barber, son of William Barber Private Co M, 103rd Infantry, departed NY for Europe on 27 Sep 1917
Arthur W. Horne, brother of Mr. Izah A. Horne. Lieut. Co C 319th Field Signal Battalion, SRG, departed Hoboken NJ on 8 May 1918 ship America.
Walter F. Hull, son of Eva B. Hull, Private Co K 309th Infantry, Service No 1748717, returned home from Bordeaux France on ship Santa Paula, arriving Brooklyn NY on 28 May 1919.
Fred Kimball, sister Mrs. Clara Drake. Private, HQ Co 309th Infantry, departing Brooklyn NY on ship Morvada on 20 May 1918 bound for Europe. Service Number 1748720.
Clifford MacRobert, mother Rose MacRobert. Private, Base Hospital No. 84. Returning from Bordeaux France arriving Hoboken NJ on 26 May 1919. Service Number 1508176.
George F. Rohan, son of Josephine Rohan. Corporal, Battery A, 77th Field Artillery. Returning from Brest France arriving Hoboken NH 29 July 1919 on ship Tiger.
George M. Wentworth, son of Martin G. Wentworth, 3rd Class Musician, HQ Co. 328th Infantry. Departed Boston MA for Europe on ship Grampian on 1 May 1918.
Also from the Massachusetts Gold Star List
Leslie Mervin Clark, son of George W. & Annie Elizabeth (Johnson) Clark; died of disease 25 June 1917, formerly of Farmington NH.

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HEROES OF FARMINGTON NH
Who Made the Ultimate Sacrifice
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Private Clarence L. Perkins. From Find-A-Grave. Written approval on site to reuse.

Clarence Leroy Perkins was born 23 November 1899 in Wolfeboro New Hampshire, the elder son of Alvaro A. and Bertha (Kimball) Perkins.  He grew up in Wolfeboro and Milton, NH removing to Farmington NH with his family in time to finish his last year of high school in Farmington. He worked in Farmington establishments before enlisting to serve in WWI. He was a Private in Machine Gun Battalion, 103rd Infantry, 26th Division, when while fighting in France he was gassed and was considered “Killed in Action” 10 May 1918.  When the war ended his body was returned to New Hampshire, and following a funeral that began in Farmington NH, he was buried in South Wolfeboro Cemetery, Wolfeboro NH.  The American Legion Post of Farmington NH was named in his honor. His name appears on both the Farmington NH WWI Honor Roll, and the New Hampshire WWI Honor Roll in Doric Hall of the NH State House.   Further details of Clarence L. Perkins’ life and service can be found in the following extracts from the Farmington News newspaper.

Farmington News 14 June 1918 newspaper: PRIVATE PERKINS GASSED.
The following letter recently was received by A.A. Perkins
Hdqtrs Mch Gun Co. 103rd Inf.
May 15, 1918

Mr. A.A. Perkins
17 School Street,
Farmington, N.H.

My dear Mr. Perkins:
It is with sincere regret that I have to inform you of the death of your son Clarence. He died early in the morning of May 10, 1918 from gas poisoning, he having been under a severe gas attack by the enemy. Your son, while a member of this company, proved to be a capable and willing soldier and at all times did what he was called upon to do with a willingness that is an example for all others to follow.
If there is anything that I can do for you, any information that you desire that I can give, I will be willing and glad to furnish the same.
Sincerely yours
Herbert L. Bowen,
1st Lieut, 103rd Inf. Comdg Co.

May 24, 1918 The Farmington News [excerpts]
IN MEMORIAM — Clarence Leroy Perkins
“Among the young people of the town, ‘Perk,’ as he was called was a popular favorite. He was an intelligent and manly fellow and possesses considerable ability as an athlete, having given a good account of himself on local basketball and baseball teams. He was a member of the Montauk Club…So far as is known at this writing he had been “over the top” twice and had spent several periods in the trenches under heavy bombardment. He had assisted in repulsing attacks of the enemy when his section had been “gassed” terrifically, but through it all his letters hinted at no complaint.” He was born in Wolfeboro November 23, 1899, and was the elder son of Alvaro A. and Bertha (Kimball) Perkins. He received his early education in the public schools of his native town and graduated from the Milton grammar school in June 1912, his parents being residents of Milton at that time. The following fall he entered Nute high school and completed his first year of academic studies there. Before the next school year his parents returned to Wolfeboro and he attended the Brewster Free Academy for two years. In 1915 he moved with his family to this village and graduated from Farmington High school in the Class of 1916. He later entered the employ of John H. Griffin and remained in the hardware business until Mr. Griffin sold out. The last few months of his stay in town he was employed at the J.F. Cloutman shoe factory. Last spring when war was declared with Germany … he was among the first in Farmington to enroll, signifying his willingness to enter the service. On the 16 of July following he was regularly enlisted in Company B, 1st New Hampshire National Guard Infantry for the period of the war. On July 25 he was regularly inducted into the service with the other men of Farmington’s volunteer quota and went to Camp Keyes at Concord for training. While in Concord he was at home on two 24-hour furloughs, the last on August 25, three days before he left Camp Keys for Westfield, Mass where the 1st NH Regiment was consolidated with the Maine, Vermont and Massachusetts into the 103rd of the 26th Division. Private Perkins was transferred to the machine gun company in which service he met his death. The division left Westfield Sept 24 and arrived in England about the 10th of October. On October 23, Private Perkins wrote his first letters to his parents and friends from “Somewhere in France.” From that time until March first he was under training in machine gunnery, and general warfare tactics. On the last date he went under fire for the first time in the first line trench…. He leaves his mother and father, one sister, Mrs. Alice Geary of Wolfeboro; one brother, Floyd Perkins, two grandparents and host of more distant relatives….

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Maurice/Morris P. Potvin was born 29 June 1889 Canada, son of John Baptiste & Matilda (Parent) Potvin. He had siblings Exilia (who married Henry J. Sewell), Aurise, Florida (who married Henry St. Martin), Beatrice and Orice.

He married 22 Nov 1909 in Rochester NH to Florence Ames, daughter of William P. & Lydia (York) Ames.  The U.S. Army Transport Passenger Lists show that he was a Private in Battery F., 302nd Field Artillery, 76th Division on 16 July 1918 when he departed the U.S. for France aboard the ship, Port Lincoln. His service No is 2794538.  While in France, he contracted pneumonia and died of disease on 30 October 1918. When the war ended his remains were returned to the United States, where he was buried in Rochester Cemetery, Rochester NH.

The Farmington News of 29 November 1918 included a memorial story about Maurice P. Potvin, in part it said: “Private Potvin was 29 years of age and a native of Canada. He had resided in this town the past five years and had worked at various occupations about the village. Possessed of a cheerful and vivacious spirit, he made a universal acquaintance from which his genial disposition won a general and lasting friendship. He was one of the Strafford county draftees inducted into the service last May and was stationed first at the special training camp at New Hampshire College, and later was transferred to Camp Devens, where he was assigned to the 302d Field Artillery Co. On or about July 15 his battery was shipped to France, where it was joined with the Battalion F unit of the 76th Division A.E.F. So far as can be learned this unit never was actively engaged, but it is thought he was with one of the reserve divisions that were being moved to the front to take part in the finale of the great drive. Those who knew him best regret that he could not have lived until the victory had been achieved as he was heart and soul in the cause of his flag and no patriot of fame or arm would have rejoiced with more fervid candor that this soldier who passed on ….. He came to the states in early childhood with his father, subsequent to the death of his mother….Private Maurice P. Potvin of Farmington whose death occurred in France on October 30 and was announced in an official telegram to his wife, Mrs. Florence Potvin last Sunday evening. No details accompanied the brief communications except that the casualty was accounted for by bronchial pneumonia.

Maurice P. Potvin is recognized on the Farmington NH WWI monument and (as “Morris” Potvin) on the New Hampshire WWI Honor Roll, Doric Hall, in the NH 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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