New Hampshire WWI Military: Heroes of Groton

Old Postcard Greeting from Groton NH. Property of J.W. Brown.

Groton is a small, bucolic town in Grafton County New Hampshire that includes the village of North Groton. Groton had about 250+ permanent residents during the WWI era (ranging from 319 people in 1910 to 199 by 1920). Of these less than 2% percentage of their population was sent to service (this was not unusual among the smallest towns, and really the majority of NH towns provided the same amount). Not all the young men who left for military service would return–Napoleon Houle and Fred Arthur Marshall being two.

My personal thanks to Elizabeth Jesperson of the Groton Cemetery Committee, and Kathy Sobetzer of the Groton Historical Society for going above and beyond to help me to write this article.  In addition Elizabeth graciously provided some of the photographs you see here. Continue reading

New Hampshire WWI Military: Heroes of Newmarket

Old postcard of Moonlight Bridge, Newmarket NH and a horse-drawn carriage

Though small in population, the town of Newmarket New Hampshire contributed between 4-5% of its total population to military service. The remaining citizens each participated in some way, either through careful rationing, home gardens, holding fund raisers, making contributions to the Red Cross and Liberty Bonds, or by supporting patriotic events.

On 11 June 1918 R.W. Husband, State Historian, Secretary of the Committee on Public Safety notified the local historians of new honor families in New Hampshire. An honor family is one which has three or more men in the military service. Newmarket led this week with three families–Mrs. James Sharples of Newmarket had four sons in the service, Mrs. Jeremiah St. Hilaire of Newmarket had three sons in the services, as had Mrs. Leon Deauteuil of Newmarket. Continue reading

New Hampshire in WWI: The Supreme Sacrifice

I had a conversation recently with a man who had researched World War One for six months and put together an exhibition about local men involved. Briefly we discussed the term “supreme sacrifice,” as I mentioned that I thought his number of WWI deaths was rather low. His retort was that only those who made the “supreme sacrifice” were included in his count.

I was a bit aghast, but the researcher was a veteran, so I was not about to diss him.  I let it go.  Perhaps that is what they are teaching the “boys” these days–that they must die in battle, in a burning flash of glory, down with the ship, and all that, in order to count as having made the “supreme sacrifice.” Continue reading

New Hampshire WWI Military: Heroes of Newport

Stereoscopic Views of Newport, Sullivan County, New Hampshire. John Bachelder photographer. Robert N. Dennis Collection, New York Public Library Digital Collections.

In 1917 the town of Newport New Hampshire had around 4,000 permanent residents.  It was also the county seat for Sullivan County where the County court house was located and business was conducted by the county commissioners.

When the World War was declared in 1917  the citizens were quick to support the war effort.  They not only sent their youth to service, but they had active Red Cross participation and the town enthusiastically supported the War Bond sales.  In July of 1918 the Newport Chapter and her auxiliaries shipped the following articles for Red Cross use: 15 helmets, 3 mufflers, 367 pairs of socks, 53 sweaters, 4 pair wristlets, 36 convalescent robes, 144 women’s and children’s garments. Continue reading

New Hampshire WWI Military: Heroes of Goffstown

Photograph of the Goffstown
Soldiers and Sailors
Monument dedicated in
1916, from the Boston Globe.

It was less than a year before the World War would be declared by the United States that Goffstown dedicated a monument to its Civil War heroes on 16 June 1916.  The monument was a gift to the town of Goffstown by Henry W. Parker with special reference to Capt. Charles Stinson, Mr. Parker’s grandfather. The statue itself was made of Barre granite and stands 25 feet high showing a soldier in a “parade rest” stance.

People from many places in southern New Hampshire came to see the statue, and a dinner was served in the lower hall of the Opera House in town. There was also a parade, presentations, orations et al. [see monument newspaper notice]. Continue reading