New Hampshire WWI Military: Heroes of Hollis

Pre WWI Hollis Town Common.

The town of Hollis New Hampshire sent 43 men to service during World War I. The residents who remained at home did their part too–participating in the Red Cross, raising funds for War bonds, demonstrating thrift in the kitchens and obedient to the meatless and wheatless days.  When the war ended, it was a difficult transition back to normalcy.

The town citizens were eager to recognize those who went into service, and especially the three who made the supreme sacrifice–Theodore H. Guething, Victor J. Nartoff and Elwyn S. Wheeler.  A plaque was placed on the front wall of the town library in 1920 (in 2004 it was moved to Memorial Park).  The Hon. T.W.  Proctor spoke at the Hollis Bicentennial in 1930 and said: “I read upon this Honor Roll–that fitting tribute to our soldier sons,–names that have been in every Hollis list from the beginning, with other names as patriotic and as worthy. I also see here and there the stars that show, too plainly, that some did not come back to you. Belleau Wood and Chateau Thierry and the camp, often as deadly as the battle, each took its toll. God rest their gallant souls” [from 22 Aug 1930 Nashua Telegraph newspaper].

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A second newspaper notice was very helpful in providing a list of Hollis WWI veterans. The Nashua Telegraph newspaper of July 13, 1920 published the following story:

HOLLIS WORLD WAR VETERANS
Honor Roll Has Been Prepared for Bronze Memorial Tablet
To be Dedicated August 14.
William Highton & Sons Company of Nashua have taken the contract for the casting of the braonze tablet as a memorial to the men of the town who served in the World War. The dedication of the tablet has been planned for Aug. 14. The following is the list of names to appear on the bronze Honor Roll tablet:
Bascom, Wallace C.
Bell, John E.
Blood, Carl C.
Brown, Louis M.
Cave, Edward S. Jr.
Cave, Francis M.
Charalt, David L.
Clement, Burotn R.
Dalton, Stanley H.
Dickerman, Edgar R.
Dunklee, Myron L.
Dunklee, Osceola L.
Farley, Scott P.
Glover, Arthur D.
Guething, Carl T.
*Guething, Theodore H.
Hardy, Charles R.
Hogan, Joseph J.
Howard, Thomas H.
Keyes, Charles H.
Lovejoy, Ralph L.
Mercer, Boyd E.
*Nartoff, Victor J.
O’Neill, Martin L.
O’Neill, William J.
Powers, Harvey M.
Reed, Carroll C.
Rhoades, Albert L.
Slocomb, Bernard R.
Smith, Myron D.
Stickney, Herman O.
Stickney, Herman O. 2d
Tarbell, Luther A.
Taylor, John A.
Walch, Myroll C.
Wenneberg, Albert S.
Wentworth, Sidney W.
*Wheeler, Elwyn S.
Wilshire E.
Any additions or changes, notify Chairman Willis C. Hardy on or before Saturday July 17th.
* Died in Service.

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The U.S. Military Transport Passenger List provides more details on some of the soldiers who went overseas. Note that this is not a complete list of the soldiers who went “over there.”

James L. Ball, Cook, Machine Gun Co., 4th Infantry. Returned from Brest France on the ship Kaiserin Auguste Victoria arriving in Brooklyn NY on 22 Aug 1919, NOK: brother-in-law Harry B. Tyler.

Egdar R. Deckerman/Dickerman, Corp/Private, Co. C, 326th Field Signal Battalion, departing Brest France arriving Hoboken NJ 27 June 1919 on ship Mobile. Father George Deckerman.

George F. Hubbard, 17 year old son of Frederick A. Hubbard of Greenwich CT (Hollis native) in training at Toronot Canada, in the Royal British Flying Squadron.

Several Hollis boys: Powers, Reed and Smith are in the Aviation corps or about to begin training in a few days (Nashua Telegraph, 30 August 1917)

Allen S. Wennberg, Chr. Sig. Cps., HQ and Supply Detachment, 326th Field Signal Battalion, return from Brest France to Hoboken NJ on 27 June 1919. Brother Charles W. Smith

Roy E. Wilshire, Private Co B 58th Infantry, departed 6 May 1918 from Brookyn NY on ship Moldonia; returned from Bordeau Fance on ship Siboney 1919. Mother Bertha Wilshire. Service Number 559751.

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Heroes of HOLLIS NH
During WWI

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Theodore Hervey Guething |1st Lieutenant | Died of Disease, 16 October 1918 (influenza-pneumonia) at the Picatinny Arsenal, Dover New Jersey | Ordnance Dept., U.S. Army | Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge MA  | [1]

Victor J. Nartoff | Corporal | Killed In Action 23 July 1918 France | 1034d Inf, 26th Div | Buried Aisne-Marne American Cemetery, Tablets of the Missing | SEE “Heroes of Nashua” | [2]

Elwyn T. Wheeler | Wagoner | Killed in Action 15 Oct 1918, Argonne Forest, France  | Co. A, 4th Sanitary Train |East Cemetery, Hollis NH | [3]

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1914 Photograph of Theodore H. Guething from his MIT Yearbook.

[1] Theodore Hervey Guething was born on October 15, 1891 in Winchester, MA, son of Theodore C. [aka Charles T.] & Mabel (Hervey) Guething. He had siblings Carl Theodore [born 14 July 1893 in Winchester MA], and James Harold Guething [b 26 March 1895Winchester MA].  Theodore H. Guething completed his WWI Registration form in Hollis NH where he was residing, working as a  Mechanical Engineer for John A. Sevens of Lowell MA.  He was single, a student 1 year Mass Institute of Technology. He described himself as tall, with a medium build, hazel eyes and dark brown hair.  Theodore H. Guething was a junior member of the Society of Mechanical Engineers, who provided the following biography. From magazine, Mechanical Engineering, Vol 41, Issue 7-12, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, 1919. “Theodore H. Guething, Lieutenant in the Ordnance Department of the Army, was born on October 15, 1891 in Winchester, Mass., where he received his early education. He attended Exeter Academy for three years and then entered the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from which he was graduated in 1915 with the degree of B.S. He was connected for short periods with the Haughton Elevator Co., Toledo, Ohio and with the Anaconda Mining Co., Anaconda, Mont. In June 1916 he became associated with the John A. Stevens Engineering Co. Lowell Mass, where he was assistant in the analysis of the power plant of the Stevens Manufacturing Co., Fall River, Mass., assistant superintendent of the construction of the power plant for the North & Judd Manufacturing Co., New Britain Conn., and assistant engineer on motoring. Chelsen Fiber Mills, Brooklyn , N.Y. When the United States entered the war he offered his services to the Government and was commissioned a first lieutenant in the Ordnance Department of the Army. He was assigned to the Picatinny Arsenal, Dover, N.J. as mechanical engineer in charge of the shops and as motor- transport officer, and was working in this capacity when he contracted influenza-pneumonia and died on October 16, 1918. Lieutenant Guething became a junior member of the Society in 1917.”    1st Lieut. Theodore H. Guething was buried on 22 October 1918 on Snowflake Path at Mount Auburn Cemetery.  His name is engraved on the Hollis WWI Honor Roll, and also on the NH WWI Honor Roll, Doric Hall, NH State House, Concord.

Sketch showing marching soldiers, from the Chicago Tribune of 2 September 1917.

[2] Victor J. Nartoff was born Victor Nordoff, 8 August 1899 in Nashua NH to Michael and Alexandra (Uravich/Jurevitch) Nordof. He had several siblings. His parents moved to Hollis, NH when he was young, however in 1917 Victor was living in Nashua, NH, and he enlisted from, and is credited to, that city.  Though Hollis claims him, the NH Adjutant General’s Office of New Hampshire attributes him to Nashua, NH.  Victor Nartoff’s body was missing and never found, but he was considered ‘killed in action’ on the battlefields of France. From Aug 7, 1918 Newspaper. FIRST GOLD STAR IN HOLLIS. Corp. Victor J. Nartoff was born in Nashua about 24 years ago. He spent most of his life in Hollis and was educated in the Hollis schools. He saw service on the Mexican border as a member of the National Guard of New Hampshire, and enlisted from Nashua in 1917. He was the son of Michael and Alexandra Nartoff/Nordoff of Hollis and is survived by four younger brothers and sisters, besides his parents. His blue star on the Hollis service flag is the first to be replaced by a gold one.”  He served as a Corporal in the 103rd Infantry, 26th Division. His name is inscribed on the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery, Tablets of the Missing. SEE “Heroes of Nashua.

[3] Elwyn Sinclair [aka Elwin] Wheeler was born 30 Jan 1896 in Hollis NH, son of Almond Anderson & Elvira “Carrie E.” (Mitchell) Wheeler. He completed his WWI Registration Form in Hollis NH on 5 June 1917. He was a resident of the town, noting he was a student at Sanborn Seminary, Kingston NH. He was single, of medium height and stature, with gray

Ceremonies held in a Hoboken pier for the war dead in flag-draped caskets, Hoboken, 1921. Hoboken Historical Museum.

eyes, and black hair. US Army Transport Service Passenger Lists show
Elwyn S. Wheeler departed the USA on 19 May 1918 for Europe on the ship Honorata. He was a Wagoner for the Medical Dept., Ambulance Co. #28, 4th Division (Regular). He noted his next of kin being his father Almond A. Wheeler of Hollis NH.  Wagoner Elwyn S. Wheeler was He was killed in action in the Argonne Forest of France on 15 Oct 1918.  When the war ended, his body was returned to the United States on 20 Sep 1921 from  Antwerp, Belgium to Hoboken NJ on the ship Wheaton. His  Service No. was 571607. He was buried in East Cemetery, Hollis NH.


[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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5 Responses to New Hampshire WWI Military: Heroes of Hollis

  1. Amy says:

    So Nartoff served on the Mexican border for the NH National Guard in World War I and was killed in action? How could that be when there were never any battles on US (or Mexican) soil during the war? Friendly fire during training exercises, maybe?

    • Janice Brown says:

      Amy, I am so glad that you read my blog stories. The story about Corporal Nartoff was confusing. I listed him briefly up at the top of the article as being Killed in Action in France (actually his body is missing so he was probably blown up to pieces or he was buried in mud in a trench and not found (yet). But …. to answer your 2nd question. There WAS a battle in the United States with Mexico during WWI, a little mentioned event, and in a future story there was a New Hampshire soldier who died then that I will be writing about.

      • Amy says:

        Wow, there is always more to learn, isn’t there!? So I assume that Cpl Nartoff served first at the border and then went to France where he was killed—I somehow missed the first part of his story!

        • Janice Brown says:

          It was my mistake for not repeating that he was killed in action in FRANCE and I added the France after you left a comment. Up above the biographies I usually have a little quicknote of their name, rank, date of death and place and link to their burial place. When I went to write the longer bio, I left out the place. I was hoping to discover a bit more about his battlefield details, but often that is lost to time unless there is a battalion history or a friend writes home and it was published in the newspaper.

          • Amy says:

            Thanks, Janice! I usually focus more on the detailed bios, so it’s not surprising I missed the first reference. Sorry!

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