New Hampshire’s First to Die during Korean War: Manchester’s PFC Roger B. Cote (1930-1950)

In March of 1951, Mayor Josaphat T. Benoit and Board of Alderman passed an ordinance,

Photograph of Roger B. Cote recognition plaque, located in Manchester NH at the corners of Massabesic Street and Valley Street. Copyright of Martin Miccio for the City of Manchester, and used here with permission.

Photograph of Roger B. Cote recognition plaque, located in Manchester NH at the corners of Massabesic Street and Valley Street. Copyright of Martin Miccio for the City of Manchester, and used here with permission.

as follows: “That the Square located in East Manchester where Valley Street and Massabesic Street intersects, be officially designated and known on all official records and maps of the City of Manchester as “Roger B. Cote Square.”  A metal sign was created as part of the ongoing “Military Squares” recognition. On June 17, 1951 the marker was placed, and a city-sponsored ceremony held with family present.

The sign reads: “PFC ROGER B. COTE. Born August 4, 1930. Killed in Korea Sept 1, 1950.”  I have been honored to be able to speak with members of Roger’s family who still live in the Manchester area, who gave me additional insight into Roger’s life and death.  I would like to especially thank Roger’s sister Rita (Cote) Brunelle who provided me with his photograph, and his brother Arnold and  cousin Raymond Cote for sharing remembrances.

Roger Bertrand Cote, son of William & Nelsie (Lemay) Cote, was born on 4 August 1930 in

Photograph of Roger Bertrand Cote. Copyright of Rita Brunelle, used here with her permission.

Photograph of a young-looking Roger Bertrand Cote. Copyright of his sister, Rita Brunelle. Used here with her permission.

Manchester, Hillsborough County, New Hampshire.  He was the fourth born, and eventually one of nine children. His sister Rita says that Roger enjoyed playing the guitar and singing.  Roger graduated from Saint Anthony Grammar School, followed by two years at St. Joseph High School on Lowell Street.

In 1942 tragedy struck the Cote family, their mother Nelsie died on 9 August 1942 at Sacred Heart Hospital in Manchester NH, of leukemia.  She was only age 37 yrs old. Roger’s father William was unable to care for his large family and still work, so the four youngest in the family were placed in St. Peter’s orphanage.  In 1944 William remarried. In 1947,  at the age of 17, Roger’s father William (a veteran of World War I who continued to feel the effects of being shot and gassed), signed for him to enter the regular army.  All of Roger’s brothers eventually served in the military.

His sister related to me that Roger had completed his tour of duty, when his tour was extended. He was sent to serve in South Korea, as a Field Artillery Cannoneer, assigned to the 8th Field Artillery Battalion (105MM), 25th Infantry Division.  It is known that Roger B. Cote was killed in action (KIA) on September 1, 1950. His sister states that he received a “machine gun bullet through the head” near Masan, South Korea, during combat.  Roger had turned twenty a month before. His death “broke his father’s heart.”

Roger’s body was retrieved and returned home to his family for burial, and placed beside his mother at Mount Calvary Cemetery. Private First Class Cote was awarded the Purple Heart, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation and the Republic of Korea War Service Medal.  Manchester’s Sweeney Post members visit this square every Memorial Day, as they have done so for decades.

 =====PARTIAL GENEALOGY OF Roger Bertrand Cote=====

Joseph Cote [1744-1803 Quebec & Ontario] & Madeleine Martin Jean [1740-1818]
Pierre Cote [1785-1885, Essex, Windsor, Ontario, Canada] & Marie Josette Meloche [1794-1816]

Antoine Cote, son of Pierre & Marie Josette/Josephe (Meloche) Cote, was b. 19 August 1835 in Windsor, Ontario, Canada and d. 15 Sep 1913 in Montreal, Canada. He married at Notre-Dame-du-Lac, Montreal Canada 28 Feb 1876 to Celina Marie Dube, daughter of Abraham & Marie Henriette (Caron) Dube. She was b. 1855 in Quebec Canada and d. 30 March 1921. He married 2nd) 12 Nov 1887 in Manchester NH to Celina Leclerc. She was b 1838 in Canada.
Children of Antoine & Celina Marie (Dube) Cote:
1. Alfred Cote
2. +Antoine / Anthony Cote, b. Aug 1860 in Canada
3. Lumina Cote
4. Alphonsine Cote
5. Belzimire Cote
6. Alida Cote
7. Joseph Cote
8. Peter Cote
9. Eugene Cote

Antonine/Anthony Cote, son of Antonie [Antoine] & Celina Marie (Dube) Cote, b. August 1860/1861 in Canada [?Bay Saint Paul, Alberta Canada], and died 1952 in Manchester NH; He m. 16 April 1894 in Manchester NH to Jessie M. Bogle, dau of Joseph & Catherine (Mclaren) Bogle. She b. 16 Sept 1872 in Stirling, Stirling Scotland, and died 1948. She immigrated in 1893 (both of her parents b. in Scotland). They are buried at Mount Calvary Cemetery in Manchester NH.
Scotland, Select Births and Baptisms, 1564-1950 about Jessie Bogle
Name: Jessie Bogle
Gender: Female
Birth Date: 16 Sep 1872
Birth Place: Stirling, Stirling, Scotland
Father: Joseph Bogle
Mother: Catherine Mclaren
FHL Film Number: 6035516
UK, Outward Passenger Lists, 1890-1960 about Jessie Bogle
Name: Jessie Bogle
Gender: Female
Age: 20
Birth Date: abt 1872
Departure Date: 15 Apr 1892
Port of Departure: Glasgow, Scotland
Destination Port: Manchester, New Hampshire
Ship Name: State Of California
Search Ship Database: Search the ‘State Of California’ in the ‘Passenger Ships and Images’ database
Shipping line: Allan Line And State Line
Master: A G Braes
1900 US Census > NH > Hillsborough > Manchester > 118 Union Street
Anthony Cote, Head W M Aug 1860 39 married 7 yrs Canada (Fr) C-F C-F; immigrated 1880, naturalized, Driver Ice Cart
Jessie M. Cote wifw W F Sep 1872 27 married 7 yrs 5 ch 4 living Scotland Scot Scot; immigrated 1891
Henry D. Cote son W M Oct 1894 5 single b NH Can Scot
Alfred A. Cote son W M Dec 1895 4 single b NH Can Scot
William A. Cote W M March 1898 2 single NH Can Scot
Edward A. Cote, W M July 1899 10/12 single NH Can Scot
1914 > COTE > Antoine > iceman 147 Elm house 90 Wilson
1930 US Census > NH > Hillsborough > Manchester
Anthony Cote M 68 Canada Sweeper Shoe Factory
Jesse Cote F 57 Scotland
Mildred Cote F 26 NH clerk shoe factory
Charles Cote M 24 NH Lost puller shoe factory
Marian Cote F 19 NH fancy stitcher shoe factory
Lilian Cote F 21 NH nurse hospital
1940 US Census > NH > Hillsborough > Manchester > 90 Wilson Street
Anthony Cote M 78 Canada
Jessie Cote F 67 Scotland
Children of Anthony & Jessie M. (Bagle/Bogle) Cote:
1. Henry David Cote, b. Oct 1894 NH; m. 25 Oct 1915 in Manchester NH to Alexina Marie Abel, dau of Francois & Delphine (Beaudet) Abel
2. Alfred A. Cote, b. Dec 1895 NH [Roger’s cousin’s Raymond’s father]
3. +William A. Cote, b. 12 March 1898 NH
4. Edward A. Cote, b. July 1899 NH
5. Clarence R. Cote, b abt 1901 NH
6. George E. Cote, b. abt 1902 Manchester NH; m. 30 Dec 1922 in Manchester NH to Diana Gelinas, dau of Adelard & Agnes (Carufel) Gelinas
7. Mildred E. Cote, b abt 1904 NH
8. Charles Francis Cote, b. abt 1906 NH; m. 31 Aug 1935 in Manchester NH to Kathleen Theresa Donoven, dau of Robert & Nell (Burke) Donoven
9. Lilian B. Cote, b abt 1909 Manchester NH: d 1960 Manchester NH: m. 6 July 1931 in Manchester NH to Frederick G. Briggs
10. Marion A. Cote, b abt 1911 NH; m. 8 Oct 1930 in Manchester NH to Peter J. Hickey, son of Peter & Catherine (Grady) Hickey.

William Arthur Cote, son of Anthony/Antonin & Jessie M. (Bogle/Bagle) Cote, b. 12 March 1898 in Manchester NH, and died 8 March 1968; married 22 Sep 1924 in Manchester NH to N. Ida “Nelsie” “Nellie” Lemay, dau of Stanislas & Celina (Beaudet/Beaudette/Boudette) Lemay. [both of her parents b. Canada] She was b. 22 September 1904 in Manchester NH and d. 9 Aug 1942 at Sacred Heart Hospital in Manchester NH, of myelogenous lukemia [sic leukemia]. He married 2d) 26 April 1944 in Epping, Rockingham Co. NH to Eva Pearl Jacques, dau of Ferdinand & Adele (Latagne) Jacques. She was b. 1903 and d. 1996. William had a disability due to being gassed during world war I. They are all buried at Mount Calvary Cemetery, in Manchester NH.
1920 US Census > NH > Hillsborough > Manchester > 28 Cumberland St.
Stanislas Lemay Head M W 50 married immigrated 1880 naturalized 1891 Can Can Can harnessmaker, own shop
Celina Lemay, wife F W 43 married imm 1880 naturalized Can Can Can
Arthur Lemay, son M W 22 single NH Can Can clerk shoe store
Emery Lemay, son M W 20 single MA Can Can
Georges Lemay, son M W 16 single NH Can Can
Nelsie Lemay, dau F W 15 single NH Can Can
Willie Lemay, son M W 13 single NH Can Can
Ernest Lemay, son M W 12 single CT Can Can
Oscar Lemay, son M W 10 single NH Can Can
Victor Lemay, son M W 9 single NH Can Can
Irene Lemay, dau F W 6 single NH Can Can
1930 US CENSUS > NH > HILLSBOROUGH > MANCHESTER > 1102 Merrill Street
Cote, Alfred Head 5000 M W 33 married 21 yrs NH NH NH
Cote, Blanch wife F W 33 married Maine Maine Maine
Cote, Frances son M W 11 single NH
Cote, Doris daughter F W 9 single NH
Cote, Lorraine, dau F W 7 single NH
Cote, Adoree dau F W 3 single NH
Cote, Raymond son M W 2 single NH
Cote, Eugene BROTHER M W 29 single NH
—living next door same building–
Cote, William Head rent M W 32 insurance
Cote, Nelsie wife NH
Cote, Donald son 3 NH
Cote, William son 2 NH
1940 US CENSUS > NH > Hillsborough > Manchester
1102 Merrill Street [Merrill Street, near ]
COTE, William Head M W 42 married NH HS2 agent insurance Company [b abt 1898]
Cote, Elsie B. wife F W 36 married 8 yrs [b abt 1904; died c 1942] Bernadette
Cote, Donald son M W 13 single NH [b abt 1927]
Cote, William son M W 12 single NH
*Cote, Roger son M W 10 single NH [middle BETRAND] [4 August 1930]
Cote, Rita, dau F W 8 single NH
Cote, Priscilla dau F W 6 single NH
Cote, Gerald son M W 5 single NH
Cote, Arnold son M W 3 single NH [603-623-5210]
Children of William & Nelsie (Lemay) Cote:
1. Lionel Joseph William Cote, b. 1925; d. 27 October 1925
2. Donald Henry Cote, b abt 1927 NH; m. 14 Sep 1946 in Manchester NH to Shirley Theres Renaud, dau of Wilfred & Bella (Martel) Renaud
3. William Cote, b. abt 1928 NH
4. **Roger Bertand Cote, b. 4 August 1930 Manchester NH [this article is written about him]
5. Rita Cote, b abt 1932 NH
6. Priscilla Cote, b. abt 1934 NH
7. Gerald Cote, b. abt 1935 NH
8. Arnold Cote, b abt 1937 NH
9. Patricia M. Cote, b. 21 November 1940, died 22 November 1940 Manchester NH [at Elliot Hospital, 20 hours old, death record states she was 6 months premature.
Child of William & Eva P. (Jacques) Cote:
10. Phyllis Cote

***ALSO SEE***
Manchester, New Hampshire’s Military Squares and Other Memorials

[Editor’s Note: This article is one of several I have written at the request of Don Pinard, Department of Public Works, Chief of Parks, Recreation and Cemetery Division, City of Manchester, New Hampshire.  It is a volunteer project (on my part) to better record and share the stories of the men memorialized by the city’s “Military Squares.”  All the information specifically within the body of this project is shared copyright free with the City of Manchester and its representatives, with the exception of photographs provided by family or friends who still retain whatever rights conveyed to them by law.]

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