New Hampshire WWI Military: Heroes of Keene

The Gordon-Bissel Post 4, American Legion was located at 43 West Street. It was demolished in 1976.

The Gordon-Bissell Post 4, American Legion was located at 43 West Street. It was named after two local men who died during WWI while serving in the military. This building was demolished in 1976 to make way for the National Grange Mutual Insurance Company building.

In Keene New Hampshire’s inaugural prayer of 1919, the city’s mayor  stated that “the dawn of this year is darkly overcast by the clouds of war; and with the nation we pass under the baptism of fire…Make brave our hearts for the performance of every duty. As we are giving the choicest of our men, so may we not hold back anything that the safety of our homes and the continuance of principles of right and liberty may require us to sacrifice. ” Sacrifice it did.

A July 20, 1919 Boston Post newspaper article announced that a whippet tank would be included in the 1919 Labor Day parade. This is probably a photograph of that event. Photo from the Keene NH Library photo stream on Flickr.

A July 20, 1919 Boston Post newspaper article announced that a whippet tank would be included in the 1919 Labor Day parade. This is probably a photograph of that event. Photo from the Keene NH Library photo stream on Flickr.

During World War I, the City of Keene, New Hampshire sent its full quota of men, along with several women who worked in Europe as part of the army’s medical nursing staff.

In the City’s 1940 Annual Report a list of those who participated in the war, along with those who died in service was published. That list of casualties was not complete [See PDF of that list]. The city of Keene also built a small non-specific memorial flag pole in the city center, with multiple wars mentioned at its base.  This monument does not recognize the heroes by name.

I have used the aforementioned source, plus the NH Adjutant-General’s list of WWI Casualties, the Honor Roll in the NH State House, and 3 other minor sources to compile a more complete listing.  The legend below is lettered, A, B, etc. to show where the individual’s name appears.  The number following each listing refers to a footnote which follows, and gives more details.  I was also very fortunate to find photographs and likenesses of most of these soldiers.

If you are a family member, or a researcher with additional knowledge that you feel I should include here, I hope you will contact me.  My intent is to honor all of these heroes, and to bring their names to light so that their families will be aware of their service.

(primary source of name listing)
[A] Soldiers of the great war, comp. by W.M. Haulsee
[B] NH Adjutant-General’s List of WWI Casualties in WWI
[C] WWI Gold Star Mother’s Pilgrimage OR WWI Gold Mothers of Massachusetts
[D] 1919 Boston Globe (newspaper) Honor Roll
[E] 1930 Keene NH Annual Report List of WWI
[F] WWI Honor Roll, NH State House, Doric Hall
[Photo] Photograph here
[#] See end notes with additional details.


BAILEY, Harold E. | Private | Killed in Action, 9 October 1918, France | 18th Infantry, 1st Division | Meuse-Argonne Cemetery, France | [B][F][1]
BALDWIN, Silas F. | Private | Killed in Action, 12 Oct 1918 | Co H., 103rd Infantry | ? Buried | [A][B][D][E][F][Photo][2]
BERGERON, Henry J. | Private | Killed in Action 13 April 1918, Bois Brule, France | Co. H, 104th Infantry | ? Buried | Credited to Concord Junction MA |[A][D][E][F][Photo][3]
BISSELL, James H. | Captain | Killed in Action,  18 July 1918 | Co. G, 103d Infantry | Woodland Cemetery, Keene |  [A][B][D][E][F][Photo][Gordon-Bissell Post #4 American Legion] [4]
BROOKS, Frank L. | Private | Killed in Action, 17 July 1918 | Co. H, 103d Infantry | Woodland Cemetery, Keene| [A][B][D][E][F][Photo][5]
CAREY, Austin | Sgt. | Died 18 July 1918 | 23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Division | Oise-Aisne American Cemetery, France |[A][E][F][Photo][6]
CHARLONNE, Herman E. | Private |Died of Disease (lobar pneumonia), 22 Sep 1919 Camp Devens MA | Co H, 74th Inf, 12th Div. | St. Patrick Cemetery, E. Jaffrey NH | [F][7]
CLARK, Dr. Walter H. | 1st Lieutenant | Died of Disease (pneumonia), 12 October 1918, Bordeaux France | Dentist, American Red Cross | Greenlawn Cemetery, Keene  | Claimed by Greenfield, Massachusetts | [E][8]
CROTEAU, Clarence J. | Private | Missing in Action, 26 September 1918 | 358th Infantry Regiment, 90th Division | St. Mihiel American Cemetery Tablets of the Missing |  Cenotaph also in Mount Calvary Cemetery, Marlborough NH. | [A][F][Photo][9]
DAMON, Milo M. | Private | Died of Disease (influenza/pneumonia), 28 Sep 1918, Dartmouth Training Camp, Hanover NH | U.S. Army, training as auto repairer | Woodland Cemetery, Keene | [E][10]
DAVEY, Dr. Harry Ellsworth | Lieutenant (junior grade) | Died of Disease (influenza, pneumonia) 5 October 1918 Keene NH | Medical Corps, USNRF | Unitarian Church Cemetery, Dighton, MA  [38]
DESILETS, LEO A. | Corporal | Killed in Action, 18 July 1918 France | Co. G., 103d Infantry | St. Joseph Cemetery, Keene | [A][B][D][E “Disilets”][F][Photo][Park][11]

George Dilboy's photograph from the Boston Post newspaper.

George Dilboy’s photograph from the Boston Post newspaper.

DILBOY, George | P1C | Killed in Action, 18 July 1918 | Co. H, 103rd Infantry | Arlington National Cemetery | Medal of Honor |[A][B][C][E][F][Photo][12]
DUDLEY, Carl A. | 1st Lieutenant | Killed in Action, 15 September 1918, France | 306th Machine Gun Battalion | Woodlawn Cemetery, Keene | Credited to New York |[E][13]
FIELD, Harold M. | Private | Killed in Action, by April 1918, France | Signal Corps., Canadian Army | Center Cemetery, Northfield MA | Credited to Canada | [E][F][14]
FINLAYSON, Allan | 2LT | Killed in Action, 26 October 1918  | 353 Inf., 89 Div., USAR | Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery |[A][B][Photo][15]
FLAGG, Ellery P. | Private | Died of Disease, 28 Sep 1918, Edgewood MD | Casual Co., 2d Bn, Chemical Warfare Service, EdgewoodArsenal | Highland Cemetery, Athol MA | Credited to Massachusetts | [C][16]
GEIGER, George P. | Private | Died of Disease, 4 Oct 1918, France| Co. C., 305th Engineers, 80th Div. | Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery | Credited to Greenfield NH (newspapers) and New York (grave marker)| [C][D][17]
GILBERT, Mark J. | Private | Died of Disease (bronchial pneumonia), 21 February 1919, France | 309th Mach. Gun Battalion | Burial ?VT | Also attributed to White River Junction VT | [E][F][18]
GRIFFIN, James J. | Private| Died of Disease (pneumonia-influenza) 26 September 1918 Camp Devens MA | Hdq Co., 42nd Infantry | Unknown burial | [E][F][19]
GORDON, Grant H. | Private | Killed in Action, 18 July 1918 | Co. G, 103rd Infantry | Woodland Cemetery, Keene | [A][B][D][E][F][Photo][Gordon-Bissell Post #4 American Legion][20]
HICKEY, Frederick J. | Private | Died of Wounds, 18 July 1918 | Co. A.[or G], 103rd Infantry, 26 Div. | St. Joseph Cemetery, Keene | [A][B][D][E][F ][Photo][Park][21]
HOWARD, Daniel | Private | Drowned 17/20 August 1917, Camp Syracuse, NY | Co. I, 30th Infantry | St. Mary Cemetery, Northampton MA |Credited to Massachusetts | [C] [E][22]
LaBOUNTY, Nelson A. | Private | Killed in Action, 18 July 1918 | Co. H., 103d Infantry | Aisne-Marne American Cemetery | [A][B][C][D][E][Photo][23]
LAWRENCE, Charles H. | Private | Killed in Accident, 13 Dec 1918 near Bar-le-Duc, France | 96th Aero Squadron, 1st Day Bombing Group | Mt. Hope Cemetery, Mattapan MA | Credited to Massachusetts, parents lived Keene NH | [C][24]
MARSHALL, Stuart C. | Lance Corporal | Killed in Action, 2 September 1918 | Canadian Forces, 85th Battalion |  Vis-en-Artois British Cemetery |[E][25]
PARR, George E.
| Corporal | Killed in Action, 13 July 1918 | 103rd Infantry, U.S. Army | St. Mihiel American Cemetery | [B][E][F][26]
PARTRIDGE, Merrett E. | Private | Killed in Action, 17 October 1918 | 128th Infantry, 32d Division | Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery | [A][D][E][F][27]
PETTS, Robert H. | S2c | Died of Disease (diptheria), 13 May 1918, Naval Hospital, Chelsea MA | Naval Reserve Force | Greenlawn Cemetery, Keene |Attributed to Massachusetts | [E][28]
REID, Philip B. | Sergeant | Died of Wounds, 3 October 1918 | 39th Battery, 10th Canadian Brigade | Bucquoy Road Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France |Meritorious Service Medal | [A][E][F][Photo][29]
RICHARDSON, Arthur T. | Seaman | Died of Disease (influenza), 29 October 1918, U.S. Marine Hospital, Stapleton NY  | United States Navy or U.S. Merchant Marine | Greenlawn Cemetery, Keene | [E][30]
RUSSELL, Charles A. | Private | Accidental Drowning, 29 July 1917, Merrimack River, Concord NH | U.S. Army | Woodland Cemetery, Keene NH | [E][F][31]
SHARKEY, Henry W. | Private | Died of Disease, 12 April 1918, Camp Pike, AK | Hospital Corps. | St. Joseph Cemetery, Keene | [E][F][32]
THOMPSON, Forrest A. | Corporal | Killed in Action, 12 September 1918 | Co. G, 103rd Infantry | Oak Hill Cemetery, W. Swanzey NH | [A][B][F][Photo][33]
UNDERWOOD, Paul L. | MM1c | Died of Disease (pneumonia), 30 Sep 1918, Naval Hospital, Pensacola FL | Naval Reserve Force | Greenlawn Cemetery, Keene | [F][34]
WARD, Russell H. |Seaman| Died of Accident, 5 April 1918, Naval Hospital Brooklyn NY | U.S. Navy | Greenlawn Cemetery, Keene |[E][F][35]
WHEELER, Ralph W. | Private | Died of Disease (pneumonia), 29 October 1917, England | Machine Gun Battalion, U.S. Army | South Village Cemetery, Westmoreland NH | [A][F][Photo][36]
WILBUR, Walter |P1C | Died of Disease (tuberculosis), 23 March 1921, Keene NH  | Evacuation Hospital 2, Medical Department | Woodland Cemetery, Keene |[E][37]

—END NOTES (Details)–
[1] Harold Edward Bailey was born 7 April 1897 in Lancaster MA, son of William E. & Rosamund E. (Dugan) Bailey.  At the time of his filling out a military registration form in June of 1917 he was living at 84 Church Street in Keene, and working as a sawyer. He was single, tall, and slender with blue eyes and brown hair.  In 1900 he was living in Lancaster MA, and in 1910 in Medford MA with his family. Siblings included Gertrude, William, Robert and John.  In 1919 he lived with his parents in Keene, NH, his father living there working as a night watchman.  The Houston Post newspaper of 13 Dec 1918 newspaper calls him corporal, but his burial marker shows “Private” as his rank.  Killed in Action, buried in Europe as shown above.
[2] Silas F. Baldwin was born 21 March 1896 in Grafton, Windham Co., Vermont, son of William Parker & Rosaline May “Rose” (Farnsworth) Baldwin.  In 1900 the family was living in Grafton VT, but by 1910 they were living in Keene NH. Silas had siblings, Ethel M. and George M. When Silas’ mother Rose died in 1937 she was buried in the Old Cemetery in Chester, Vermont, and so possibly he is buried there too.  Member of the famed “Yankee Division.”  See photograph of him in the gallery posted here (above).
[2] Henry Joseph Bergeron was born 26 June 1900 at Keene NH, son of Joseph & Aldia (Trepanier) Bergeron.  The “Gold Star Record of Massachusetts,” states that he enlisted 11 October 1916, reporting for duty on 30 March 1917.  He was mustered on 6 April 1917 into Company I., 6th MA Infantry National Guard. This became Co. H., 104th Infantry, 26th Division. He was sent overseas on 5 October 1917.  He had a sibling, Hortense. He had been a resident of Massachusetts for six years prior to enlistment, and was working in a chair factory. The newspaper, Concord Enterprise, of May 15, 1918, (Concord MA) reported: “DIED OF WOUNDS. Sad Memories were awakened when during the past week, letters were received in town from Pvt. Henry J. Bergeron who died somewhere in France, on April 14, from wounds received in action two days before. The letters were written the week previous to his death when he was evidently in the best of health and spirits. In one of the letters received by his brother, he said “Received one of your most wonderful letters while I was in the hospital but had no time to answer it. I have been in the trenches and am out again, but am not dead yet and do not expect to be for a long time yet. I know now what gas smells like as I have had several experiences with gas attacks. I have managed to fool them most of the time, but once they got the best of me and I got some gas in my eyes, which made them sore for a while. I have been in the trenches twice and long for the next time to come, because we are just as good shots with the old rifle as they are and I think a little better. When we are in the front line we have an easy time of it, eating, sleeping and smoking, but when we are on guard things are a little different and when the machine guns start we realize that it is time to duck and believe me, we all know how, for we are used to it now. Well, I must close now, hoping this letter will find you all in the best of health. Your last letter found me in the hospital, but I am better now. Your loving brother, Henry.” The Brattleboro Daily Reformer (Brattleboro VT) of 23 April 1918 reported: “Former Keene Boys Killed in Battle. News was received in Keene Sunday of the death of Private Henry J. Bergeron of Company G, 104th Infantry who was killed in action in France April 13. Private Bergeron was only 18 years old. He was a son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Bergeron, and was born in Keene and lived there nearly all his life, but his parents were making their home in Concord Junction, Mass., when he enlisted in 1916 in the 5th Massachusetts regiment. When his mother died, she was buried in St. Joseph Cemetery, Keene.  He does not seem to be buried overseas or in a U.S. Military cemetery.
[4] James Harold Bissell was born 6 May 1893 in Keene, NH, son of Charles H. & Abbie (Bassett) Bissell. He was an only child.  He lived at 309 Water Street in Keene NH. He enlisted in the New Hampshire National Guard in May 1915 and served on the Mexican border prior to his serving in the military during WWI.  At his death, he was 25 years old.  The Gordon-Bissell Post #4 American Legion, was named in his honor. See photograph of him in the gallery posted here (above).
[5] Frank L. Brooks was born 15 July 1898 in St Regis Falls, NY  [St. Regis Falls is a hamlet within the town of Waverly, Franklin Co., NY], the son of Elias Adlore & Emma Belle (Besaw) Brooks. His mother had married 2d) in Keene NH in 1919 to Edward Nelson Pasno and resided there. He had siblings: Levi, Hazel, Florence, Joseph, Rosanna and Lila Brooks. In 1900 he was living with his family in Lawrence, St. Lawrence Co. NY, and in 1910 in Waverly, Franklin Co. NY.  See photograph of him in the gallery posted here (above).
[6] Austin Hayward Carey was born 2 May 1883 in Chesterfield, Cheshire Co. NH, son of Gilman C. & Mary Rosanna (Curtis) Carey. His siblings were Frank G., Ernest A., Bertrand A., Florence W., Katie M., Jessie B., Forest L., Barnard C., Gladys E., Frank G., and Grace E.  He served at first in the US Marine Corps, and in 1910 was stationed at the Naval Station, in Olongapo, Philippines.  Later during WWI he served in the regular army, and is credited to both Westmoreland NH and Keene, NH. See photograph of him in the gallery posted here (above).
[7] Herman Edmond Charlonne was born 2 April 1890 in East Jaffrey, New Hampshire, son of Edmund & Albina (Avard) Charlonne. He was employed in Winchendon MA for sixteen years. He enlisted at Keene, NH and so is credited to this city. He is not listed on the Jaffrey NH WWI “Buddies” monument.
[8] Walter H. Clark, DDS was born 14 January 1882 in Keene, NH, son of Charles Herbert & Mary O. (Hamblet) Clark. He was a dentist.  Walter and his mother were living in Greenfield MA when he registered for the WWI Draft, and so they claim him also.  The Gold Star Mother registry shows: “Clark, Walter H. of Greenfield; American Red Cross; Lieutenant; died 12 October 1918 at Base Hospital 6, Bordeaux, of disease. Overseas 25 Sep 1918 in American Red Cross Service as a dentist. Born 14 Jan 1882 at Keene NH, son of Charles H. (died 1912) and Mary Olive (Hamblett, d. 1921) Clark; brother of Ralph H. and Florence A. (wife of Lorenzo B. Fortin) of Greenfield. Dentist, practicing in Greenfield. Graduate of University of Maryland. Awarded Bronze Medal and citation.”
[9] Clarence Joseph Croteau was born  22 April 1892 in Quebec, Canada, son of Clovis and Della (Deayle) Croteau.  In 1910 they were living in Marlborough NH. He had siblings Albert, Edna, Freddie, Ernest, Leon, Angie, and Edward Croteau. On his war registration form he indicated he was a  resident of Marlborough NH, employed as a teamster for  Oren H. Wirwall of Marlborough NH. He was single, short, stout with blue eyes and brown hair. During WWI, he was missing in action in France, and presumed dead, no body being recovered. See photograph of him in the gallery posted here (above).
[10] Milo M. Damon was born 5 August 1896 in Troy NH, son of Marcus Victor & Ella Lavina (Knapp) Damon. In 1900 he and his family were living in Keene NH at 184 Washington Street. Siblings were George Franklin 1880-1908, and Maude Irene 1883-1963, who married Frank Norris Gurnsey. Milo enlisted at Keene NH, describing himself on his registration form of June 1918 as of medium height, slender with brown eyes and dark brown hair.  He was sent to the Dartmouth Training Camp in Hanover, New Hampshire, for training in auto-repair.  The military had many mules and horses for transportation in Europe, but they also had some mechanized vehicles and they needed men who could repair them. Influenza was rampant in all of the U.S. military camps, and Milo M. Damon became a victim himself.
[11] Leo A. Desilets was born 8 September 1896 in Harrisville NH, son of Ledger & Alma (Bourque/Bourke) Desilets.  In 1900 he lived with his parents in Wilton, NH, but by 1917 he was living at 283 West Street in Keene NH.  His siblings were Addie, Ernest and Charlotte. The City of Keene (NH) web site notes:”Hickey-Desilets Park: A tiny park in a bend of the Ashuelot River at the intersection of island and Winchester Streets. It was first established in the mid-1800’s and called the “Ashuelot Park”, but was renamed in the late 1930’s in honor of Fred Hickey and Leo Desilets, Co. G, 103rd US Infantry, two World War I veterans who were killed in Chateau Thierry France. Facilities: Park benches and ornamental trees and shrubs.” See photograph of him in the gallery posted here (above). [12] George Dilboy was born 15 Feb 1896 in Alatsata, Province of Smyrna, Asia Minor. [The Greek settlement of Alatsata is today located in western Turkey.] He was 12 years old when (in 1908) his family emigrated to the United States, settling in Keene, New Hampshire. At the time of his military registration, he was living at 96 Linwood Street, Somerville MA, employed by the Boston Woven Hose Company.  He noted he had served 14 months in the New Hampshire militia, 1st Regiment.  He is described as of medium height, slender with brown eyes and black hair.  He had originally entered National Guard Service in New Hampshire, though he filled out his WWI military form in Massachusetts, so both places claim him. George Dilboy was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously. It was presented to his father, Antoine by General Ruckmand and General Edwards on Boston Common in 1920.  At first George Dilboy was buried in his home town in Turkey/Greece.  When war broke out in the region and his burial site was vandalized, at the demands of the U.S. Government, his body was returned here, and reburied in Arlington Cemetery. See photograph posted above.
[13] Carl Abell Dudley was born 27 Feb 1889 in Keene, NH, son of Darwin E. & Sarah E. (Towne) Dudley. By 1900 his family (no siblings) had moved to NYC where his father was an insurance inspector. He was educated at Harvard and for a number of years was a member of the editorial staff of The Boston Transcript newspaper. Prior to enlistment he was in the advertising business in New York City, and he resided at Hotel Flanders (133 W 47 St NY NY).  A New York Times news story stated that “He was killed while leading a platoon of the 306th Machine Gun Battalion into action.” Harvard College awarded him a Posthumous Degree of AB “for honorable service in the war.”  He is credited to New York, and his military card adds: “Inducted at LB 158 NY NY, on 8 Dec 1917. Served in Co C 305 MG Bn to disch. Pvt 1 cl Apr 20 1918; Corp. May 7 1918; Sgt June 15, 1918. Discharged July 13, 1918 to accept commission (Lieut).”
[14] Harold Moody Field was born 3 June 1898 in Northfield MA, son of Herbert D. & Nina (Moore) Field.  In 1900 he and his family were living in Northfield MA.  About 1908 his family moved to Keene.  When WWI broke out, he entered the military service in Canada (who entered the war prior to the United States).  The newspapers reported his death. Harold M. Field of Keene NH whose name appears in the casualty list from Canada, published last  Sunday, was well known here. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Herbert D. Field, now of Springfield, Mass. He was born here June 3, 1898 and lived here until about 10 years ago when his family moved to Keene.  He enlisted with the Canadian forces in the fall of 1915 and when recently heard from by his parents was serving in the signal corps. Previously to his enlistment he was a machinist in Keene and in Swanton VT. He was reported killed in Action. Mrs. Frank Kendrick of East Northfield is an aunt of Harold Field. [The Vermont Phoenix, Brattleboro, Fri April 26, 1918]
[15] Allan Finlayson was born February 1881 at Prince Edward Island Canada, the son of Hugh and Margaret (MacLeod) Finlayson. He had full siblings, Angus and Roderick; along with half siblings, A. Jessie, Vernon Cecil, Elizabeth Violet, Kathryn Alice, Leah Pearle and Robert Hugh Finlayson. Allen immigrated to the United States in 1895 and by 1900 was already in military service, being located in the 46th Infantry in the Philippines. In 1915 two of his sisters, Violet and Pearl were working as nurses in Keene NH.
[16] Ellery Preston Flagg was born 28 March 1894 at Marlow, New Hampshire,  son of Merrill Edward & Martha Marie (Mansfield) Flagg. The Massachusetts Gold Star Mothers book shows the following entry: Flagg, Ellery Preston; died 28 Sep 1918 at Edgewood MD of disease. Ent 5 Aug 1918, 49th Co., 13 Bn, Syracuse Recruit Camp; trans 28 Aug to Casual Co., 2d Bn, Chemical Warfare Service, Edgewood Arsenal. Born 28 March 1894 at Marlow NH, son of Merrill Edward (died 1919) and Martha Marie (Mansfield) Flagg; brother of Mrs. Nora May Wenham of Marlow NH, Albert Chester of Springfield VT, Everett Wilson of Battle Mountain, Nev., Merrill Eugene of Keene NH, Harrison Levi of Marlboro NH and George Henry, Murtie Anna and Bertha Mabel. Plumber. Of South Athol. Resident in Massachusetts nineteen years. He is credited to Massachusetts.
[17] George P. Geiger was born 5 Sep 1888 in Picture Rocks PA, son of Francis P. & Edith M. (Cary) Geiger. He married 17 April 1914 in Boston MA to Alice W. Stauffer. He was living in Westmoreland PA when he filled out his war registration form.  His widow, Alice S., later lived at 8 Mystic Place, Keene, NH when her name was published on the Gold Star Tour. They had a son, Francis Geiger born 2 June 1914 Waltham MA. He is credited in newspapers to Greenfield NH (which should be Greenfield MA) and also credited to New York on his grave marker.
[18] Mark James Gilbert  was born 13 November 1889 in Hartford VT, son of Edward C. & Mary A. (Daley) Gilbert.  In 1900 the family was living in Hartford VT, and in 1910 in White River VT.  At the time of filling out his war registration card, Mark was living at 5 Central Square in Keene NH, a bench saw operator at the Fowler-Norwood Green Co. in Keene. He was single, of medium height and weight, with grey eyes and black hair.  In 1910 his siblings include John E., Josie N., Frank F., Eugene D., Mort K., Arthur E., Alice M., Paul R., and  Mandy N. The Burlington Free Press of March 6, 1919 noted: “Vermont Casualties. PVT MARK J. GILBERT White River Junction, March 6.–Mr. and Mrs. Edmund C. Gilbert are in receipt of a telegram from the adjutant-general’s office., Washington D.C., telling them that their son, Mark James Gilbert, member of a machine gun company, died in an Army hospital, in France, February 21 from bronchial pneumonia. The telegram was the first information the parents had of their son’s illness. He had but recently left a base hospital because of having been gassed in a battle on October 16;. Private Gilbert had been in the army about two years, having enlisted from Keene NH where he was in the photograph business. He was a graduate of the Hartford High School of 1918, and was popular among the townspeople.”
[19] James J. Griffin. This name is listed on both the City of Keene WWI casualty list and on the NH WWI Honor Roll in the State House.  The best possibility for his identity is a registration card filled out by: James Griffin,  30, residing at 6 Main Street Keene NH; born 9 June 1887 Dingle Ireland occupation: Night watchman J H Reynolds Keene;  single, med height, stout, brown eyes, brown hair.   This same James Griffin in 1910 was living in Keene NH, single, a servant. Updated 5/6/2019: the death records for Camp Devens shows “Sept 26 James Griffin, Pvt Hdq 42nd Inf M M 31 pneumonia Keene NH [31 yrs old so born about 1887]. The Boston Herald on 29 Sep 1918 reported on the large number of deaths at Camp Devens and included the name of James Griffin.  Unknown burial location.
[20] Grant Havelock Gordon was born 13 Feb 1893 in Nova Scotia, Canada, son of William & Celedia (Beals) Gordon.  The Boston Post of 3 August 1918 printed the following notice: “Pt. G.H. Gordon. Grant H. Gordon killed in action on July 19, was the son of Mrs. Cecelia Sheldon of 464 Central Street, Lowell. He was 25 years old and resided for several years in Keene NH. He was a member of G Company, 103rd Infantry. He enlisted in April 1917.”  He is buried in Woodland Cemetery, Keene. See photograph of him in the gallery posted here (above).  Gordon-Bissell Post #4 American Legion was named in his honor.
[21] Frederick J. “Fred” Hickey was born 26 March 1896 in Keene NH, son of Michael J. & Hanoria “Hannah” (Collins) Hickey.  He had siblings Susan, Delia, Michael F., Elizabeth/Lizzie, and William G. He died in France and when the war ended, his body was returned to the United States, and reburied in St. Joseph Cemetery in Keene NH on 22 January 1922. Hickey—Desilets Park was named in his honor. See photograph of him in the gallery posted here (above).
[22] Daniel Howard was born 29 November 1892 at Keene NH, son of John Francis and Mary (Ford) Howard, Irish immigrants. By 1900 his family was living in Northampton MA, and by 1910 he was in Springfield MA.  The Gold Star Mothers of Massachusetts book adds: “drowned 17 Aug 1917, at Syracuse NY. Enl. 29 May 1917, R.A. assigned to Co. I 30th Inf.; brother of Bessie, Anna, Mary and John. Chauffeur.  The Syracuse Herald of 17 September 1917 stated:”Daniel Howard, private, August 20th, drowned in Erie canal.” From 1917-1919 Camp Syracuse was a mobilization camp, where state guard were recruited and mobilized for military service. The site was on the state fairgrounds area, four miles west of the city.
[23] Nelson Augusta La Bounty was born 20 December 1897 in Keene, NH, son of Antoine & Rosa (White) LeBounty.  In 1900 he and his family were living in Keene NH.  He had one sibling, Rose M LaBounty who married in 1933 to James H. Eddy.  See photograph of him in the gallery posted here (above).
[24] Charles Henry Lawrence born 1 September 1897 at Roxbury, MA son of Horace B. and Mary Alberta (Duncanson) Lawrence.  The “Gold Star Mothers of Massachusetts,” book adds: “Lawrence, Charles Henry, killed accidentally 13 Dec 1918 (near Bar-le-Duc]. Enl 11 Aug 1917, R.A., 21st Recruit Co., Fort Slocum, N.Y.; trans 16 Aug to 96th Aero Sq. 1st Day Bombing Group. Overseas 27 Oct 1917. Of Jamaica Plain. [parents of Keene NH].
[25] Stuart C. Marshall was born 10 February 1896 in Outram, Annapolis Co., Nova Scotia, Canada, son of Bayard & J. Annie (Marshall) Marshall. The 1901 Canadian census shows him living in Nova Scotia with his family. Siblings include Laura (who m. Rupert M. Marshall), Stella Maude aka M. Estella (who m. Alfred Healy), M. Edna (who m. Wilbur Fred Beardsley). From 1913-1915 he lived in Keene, employed at the chair factory.  In 1915 the city directory shows he “rem to Nova Scotia.” He entered the Canadian military service in 1916 and was sent to Europe, where he was killed in action.  He was hit in the head by a bullet and instantly killed during an attack south of Haucourt.
[26] George Eustace Parr was born 13 March 1891 in Fordham, England son of Charles John & Emily (Bell) Parr. In 1901 he was living in Fordham England with his family and siblings Hilda Margrate, Bertram Charles, Richard Reginald, Arthur Robert, and Emily.  In June of 1917 George was living at 64 Main Street in Keene NH, working as a toymaker with Wilkins Toys in Keene NH. He was single, of medium height and weight, with blue eyes and brown hair. The History of the 103rd regiment shows that he was a Corporal in Co. G, 103rd regiment, and he was killed on 12 September 1918 by shell fire. That same book credits him to Rochester NH, though he should be credited to Keene.  He is mentioned on  Fordham England’s WWI Memorial site.
[27] Merrett/Merritt Eastman Partridge was born 7 February 1899 in Hartford VT, son of Merritt Eastman & Lucy Emma (Smith) Partridge. He had siblings, Pearle, Frederick, Leland, Westley, Mearle, Alma and Wallace.  He was living in Keene NH as early as 1908 when he appears in the directory, secretary for Cheshire Lodge No. 82, IOOF (Oddfellows).  In 1917 he owned a home at 120 Elm Street and was employed in Keene.  That same year (1917) he apparently removed to Claremont NH who also claims him for military record purposes.
[28] Robert Henry Petts was born 14 August 1896 at Keene NH, son of Don I. and Margaret W.D. (Darling) Petts. His siblings included Joseph M., Donald I., and Margaret D. and and Ellen, all of Jamaica Plain, MA at the time of his death.  The Gold Star Mothers book shows the follow additional info: “Petts, Robert Henry, Seaman, second class, N.R.F; died 13 May 1918 at Naval Hospital, Chelsea of disease. Enr. 30 Nov 1917; assigned 12 Dec to Naval Training Camp, Bumkin Island; 8 Feb 1918 to Armed Guard, Boston Section, 1st Naval District, 26 April to Hospital. Bank teller. Resident in Massachusetts seven years.” He is buried in Greenlawn Cemetery, Keene.
[29] Philip Burton Reid was born 28 December 1886 in Nova Scotia Canada.  He served in the Canadian Field Artillery.  The Boston Globe newspaper of 12 November 1918 announced: “Keene NH Nov 10–Word has been received here by his father, George S. Reid, of the death on October 3, of Sergt Philip B. Reid of the 39th Battery, 10th Canadian Brigade. Sergt Reid was born in Nova Scotia, Dec 28, 1886 but came to Keene (NH) when young and remained here until 1909, when he went West as a ranchman. He leaves a father, two brothers and four sisters.” See photograph of him in the gallery posted here (above).
[30] Arthur Theodore Richardson was born 19 September 1891 in Keene, NH, son of Edward W. & Ida J. (Kenson) Richardson.  He grew up in Keene, shown living there with his family in the U.S. censuses of 1900 and 1910. He had a sister Eva.  At the age of 25 when he filled out his registration form, he stated that he was living at 340 Marlboro Street in Keene, working as a paper ruler at A.E. Martell Company of Congress Street.  He was single, stood 5 ft 8-1/2 inches tall, medium build with blue yes and brown hair.  He married 15 April 1918 in Keene NH to Clara Belle Aldrich, daughter of George H. & Mary L. (Houghton) Aldrich. His death certificate states he served in the U.S. Navy, while the newspaper report lists him under Merchant Marine service. He, like so many others in military service, succumbed to the highly-contagious and deadly influenza.
[31] Charles A. “Charlie” Russell was born 6 March 1896 in Hillsborough, New Brunswick, Canada, son of Duncan & Maude Ala “Minnie” (Stevens) Russell.  He had one sibling, Ella. When he filled out his registration form, he noted that he was living at 179 So. Lincoln St Keene NH, employed as a planer. His physical description was 5 ft 5-1/2 tall, medium build, with  gray eyes and light hair. His death certificate states he died of asphyxiation from an accidental drowning, while swimming in the Merrimack River at Concord NH.  He is buried in Keene NH.
[32] Henry W. Sharkey was born 19 March 1899 Keene NH, son of Ray Dow and Mary Sharkey, and grandson of Frank & Lucy (Castor) Sharkey. The Boston Globe newspaper of Sunday April 14, 1918 noted: “HENRY SHARKEY OF KEENE IS DEAD AT CAMP PIKE. Keene NH, April 13–Henry Sharkey, aged 19, died Friday at Camp Pike, Little Rock, Ark., where he was a member of the hospital corps, according to a telegram received by the victim’s grandmother, Mrs Lucy Sharkey of this city. The body will be shipped to Keene and the funeral will be held at the home of his grandmother who brought him up. His mother Mrs. Mary Ferguson, lives in New York. Sharkey enlisted in February, 1917.  Henry’s mother Mary Sharkey married several times, but there is no mention of any siblings.
[33] Forrest A. Thompson was born 17 July 1887 in Dublin NH to William A. Thompson & Nellie A. Leonard. [at least according to his death certificate. The Town of Dublin has no such listing in their annual report, and his mother’s name SHOULD state Bourne as her maiden name since she did not marry Henry S. Leonard until 1897.]  In 1900 Forrest was living in Swanzey NH with his grandparents, Ansel & Hattie E. (Fassett) Bourne.   He had half-siblings Clesson and Cora Leonard. Forrest was killed in action during WWI in France. Following the war his body was returned to the United States, and he was buried in the family plot in Swanzey NH. See photograph of him in the gallery posted here (above).
[34] Paul Lapham Underwood was born 16 June 1897 in W. Swanzey NH, son of  Frank George & Mary (Lapham) Underwood.  The book, Gold Star Mothers of Massachusetts has this entry: “Underwood, Paul Lapham, Machinist’s mate, first class, N.R.F died 30 Sep 1918 at Naval Hospital, Pensacola FL of disease.  Enr. 19 June 1918; assigned to Naval Air Station, Pensacola. Born June 1897 son of Frank J. & Martha Underwood of Keene NH; brother of Philip, Florence, Lucille, all of Keene, and Karl F. (served at Camp Pike); Watchmaker. Credited to New Hampshire.”
[35] Russell Harrison Ward was born 30 November 1898 in Swanzey, NH son of William H. & Maude M. (Bruce) Ward.   In 1900 and 1910 he was living in Swanzey NH with his parents and his sister Helen. In the 1917 Keene City Directory he is shown to be in the United States Navy, his address of Spragueville NH (a hamlet between Swanzey and Keene NH).  His death record states he died of “accident,” but does elucidate, except that Russell “lived about 10-1/2 hours” after it occurred. He is buried in Keene NH.
[36] Ralph Whitten Wheeler was born 24 December 1892 in Westmoreland NH, son of Fred M. & Nellie J. (Tyler) Wheeler.  In 1900 and 1910 living in Westmoreland NH with his family.  On June 5, 1917 when he filled out his registration form, he noted: farmer in business for self, single, short, stout, brown eyes, black hair.  Two newspaper stories provided additional information: that Ralph W. Wheeler was sent to the Ayer Mobilization Camp in September of 1917, and was assigned to a machine gun battalion.  He was sent to Europe and died of pneumonia in England on 29 October. “He was the first drafter man from Cheshire County to be sent to the Ayer cantonment. Besides his parents, he leaves two sisters, Mrs. Burns of Westmoreland and Mrs. Clarence Roy of Gardner, MA.”  [Editor’s note:*Not to be confused with Ralph Worthley Wheeler born in Winchester NH, son of Ralph.] See photograph of him in the gallery posted here (above).
[37] Walter M. Wilbur was born 10 July 1896 [some sources say 1895 or 1897] in Seabrook, NH, son of Albert J. & Florence (Brown) Wilbur. In 1917 he completed his registration card in Ohio, stating he was living in Billboard, Cincinnati Co, Ohio, a rancher for Col. Bros. Shows. He was single, of medium height and weight, black eyes, brown hair.  He had been serving during WWI in the medical department of Evacuation Hospital No. 1, where, no doubt he had contracted tuberculosis and diphtheria which led to his eventual death. His death record stated the cause: tuberculosis chronic pulmonary duration 1-1/2 years, contributing Diphtheria, 6 weeks. He is buried in Keene NH.
[38] Dr. Harry Ellsworth Davey |was born 21 November 1883 in Brockton MA, son of John Harry & Jennie Elvira (Briggs) Davey.   He practiced medicine for several years (beginning as early as 1916) in Keene, NH prior to entering service during WWI.  He married 1st) abt 14 Oct 1905 in Taunton MA to Edna Rae Armstrong, daughter of Elias B. Armstrong & Sophia Reynolds. She was b. in Nova Scotia. The 25 January 1911 Boston Globe carried a long article about how Harry E. Davey filed for a divorce from Edna claiming they had never lived together, and alleged desertion. The divorce was granted.  Harry E. Davey married 2d) 1 Sep 1915 in Nashua NH to Mary Elizabeth Manning, daughter of Frank & Ellen (Mayberry) Manning. She was a nurse, born Exeter NH, her first marriage.   [They had one child,  Harry Ellsworth Davey Jr., b 3 October 1917 in Keene NH. He died 11 March 2003. Served in WW2, enlisted 1 June 1939, released 31 August 1966. Davey Jr. graduated in 1939 from the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis MD. He was awarded the Silver Star for actions during WWII.]  Dr. Harry Ellsworth Davey Sr. served during WWI in the United States Navy Reserve Force.  He died of pneumonia as a complication of influenza (duration of 5 days) on 5 October 1918 at 67 Summer Street in Keene NH. The Boston Globe newspaper of 6 October 1918 reported:  THREE DEATHS IN KEENE, N.H. Keene, N.H. Oct 5 — There were three deaths from pneumonia in Keene during the past 24 hours: Dr. Harry E. Davey, Harold M. Moulton and Mina Delia Pinard. Dr. Davey was born in Brockton 34 years ago and was educated in the Brockton schools, a business college, Williston Seminary, East Hampton, Mass. Boston University of Medicine and the Boston Homeopathic Hospital. He practiced in Nantucket before coming to Keene in 1913. He was a Mason, Odd Fellow, member of the New Hampshire and Massachusetts Homeopathic Societies and the Cheshire County Medical Society. He leaves a wife, who was Miss Elsie Manning of Clinton, Mass; one son, Harry E. Davey Jr., a mother, Mrs. Jennie Davey of Somerville, Mass., two brothers, Charles of Somerville and Ralph of Brockton. The funeral will be held tomorrow with burial at Clinton, Mass.  Lieut. Harry E. Davey was buried in his family’s plot in the Unitarian Church Cemetery, Dighton, MA. [Editor’s Note: Harry E. Davey was added to this original story on 26 June 1918 when his service was discovered through a newspaper mention].  His name does not appear on the Keene NH honor listing, but it IS engraved on the WWI Honor Roll in the New Hampshire 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].


– GREAT PHOTOGRAPHS Keene Public Library & Historical Society
Keene Sentinel newspaper–“Memories of World War I,” by Rick Giordano (2002).  Additional details of WWI and Keene, New Hampshire.

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7 Responses to New Hampshire WWI Military: Heroes of Keene

  1. Pingback: New Hampshire World War I Military: Heroes of The Great War | Cow Hampshire

  2. Amy says:

    What a tremendous amount of work this must have taken. Their families should be very grateful.

    • Janice Brown says:

      I do so hope that eventually a family member will be reconnected with one of these heroes. No one that I know of, to date, has done anything like this. I research the town or city first to see if anyone has already written, and so far, I am the first in all the locations I have focused on. Thank you, as always for taking a look at my stories!

  3. Pingback: New Hampshire Focus: 100th World War I Anniversary in 2017 | Cow Hampshire

  4. Pingback: New Hampshire WWI Military: Heroes of Claremont | Cow Hampshire

  5. Pingback: 100 Years Ago: New Hampshire Gold Star Mothers | Cow Hampshire

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