New Hampshire WWI Military: Heroes of Center Harbor

Veterans Memorial of Center Harbor New Hampshire, located outside the James E. Nichols Memorial Library. Photograph by J.A. Kinnaman. Used here with his permission.

Center Harbor is a town that sits snugly between Squam Lake and Lake Winnepesauke. Even today the population hovers just above 1,000 people, rising many fold during the summer tourist season. In 1920 it had just 422 year-round residents. That fact did not prevent the town from sending its best and bravest into War. By 1920 the Town of Center Harbor had created a monument that included heroes of the town who participated in wars up to and including World War I.

This memorial sits on the lawn of the James E. Nichols Memorial Library at 35 Plymouth Street. My thanks to Librarian, A.J. Kinnaman, for helping me with this project, and for providing the photographs of the monument that you see here.

Thirteen names of men who fought during WWI from the town are listed. It appears that none of those listed on the monument died in war time, however I found a few additional men attributed to Center Harbor (mentioned later) whose names are not inscribed.

Closeup of WWI inscriptions on Center Harbor NH war memorial. Photograph by J.A. Kinnaman, used here with permission.

1914 World War 1918

Shirley F. Bickford
Ralph W. Boynton
Edward F. Day
Frank C. Greene
Everett L. Hubbard
Leon H. Hawkins
Raymond E. Kelley
Berne H. Leighton
Leon W. Simpson
Edward E. Webster
Carl P. Swinnerton
-U.S. Navy-
Noyes V. Sanborn


Center Harbor Memorial Plaque showing names of WWI “Boys” on left side. Photograph by J.A. Kinnaman, used here with permission.

Shirley Floyd Bickford was born 29 May 1896 Moultonboro NH, son of Minot Weston Bickford & Della M. Ruiter/Reuter, grandson of Moses R. & Margaret A. (Lamborn) Bickford. The 1940 US Census shows he finished 4 years of high school In 1917 living in Moultonboro NH, employed as a farmer by Ernest B. Dame. He married 4 Dec 1915 in Tilton NH to Alice C. Horne, daughter of Frank E. & Jennie (Danforth) Horne. In 1940 he was living in Moultonboro with his wife Alice, a teamster. He is buried in Bean Cemetery, Moultonborough NH. His military marker shows: “SHIRLEY F. BICKFORD. New Hampshire. PVT US ARMY, WORLD WAR I. May 28, 1896. Sept 30, 1969. His parents lived in Center Harbor from about 1910 to 1957.

Ralph Wentworth Boynton was born 5 May 1894 in Meredith NH, son of Mark W. & Nellie J. (Smith) Boynton. He m. 27 July 1913 in Sandwich NH to Lorraine Bragg, daughter of Almer R. & Sarah A. (Perrott) Bragg. His WWI Draft Registration form of 5 June 1917 was completed in Center Harbor NH, where he was employed as a teamster by E.B. Dane. He was of medium height and stature with gray eyes and black hair. He served as a Medical Wagoner during WWI in Mobile Veterinary Section No. 1 (Service Number 1,672,915). He returned home from Europe arriving from Brest France in Hoboken NJ on 2 Sep 1919 on the ship “Siboney.” He died December 1964 and is buried in Meredith Village Cemetery, Meredith NH.

Edward F. Day appears to be the “Eddie F. Day” who served as a Corporal during WWI in Battery B, 73rd Artillery CAC. On 25 September 1918 when he departed on the ship, Scotian, to Europe, his nok was a friend, Orville P. Smith, and his residence was Ashland NH.  Eddie F. Day returned home leaving France 12 December 1918, on the ship, Mongolia.

Frank Carter Greene was born 2 Dec 1893 in Moultonboro NH, son of George William & Mary Frances (Carter) Greene. In 1910 he was living with his family in Center Harbor NH including siblings, Persis “Percy” Davis, Laura E., and Ruth Maria (who m1) James Elbridge Hardy; m2d) Rudolph I. Dubeaw/Dubeau). Frank C. Greene married 3 June 1916 in Tamworth NH to Viola D. Kittlesen-Vittum, daughter of Otis H. Kittlesen & Albertha Danforth. They had a daughter Phyllis Greene who m. 19 Sep 1938 in Tamworth NH to Carrall Fortier, son of A.J. & Nellie (Hobbs) Fortier. He completed his WWI Registration form on June 5, 1917 in Moultonboro, Carroll Co. NH. He enlisted on 19 Nov 1917 and was discharged 4 April 1919 per the US Dept of Veterans BIRLS Death List. He was an electrician. The U.S. Army Transport service shows he left Bordeau France arriving in Hoboken NJ on 24 March 1919, residence, So. Tamworth NH on the ship Matsonia,
Private, Co E 26th Engineers, Camp Devens Detachment Service #225,150. He died 3 May 1974 in Laconia NH.

Everett Leonard Hubbard was b. 17 Feb 1896 in Center Harbor NH, son of Rodney Nelson. & Minnie Lenore (Cox) Hubbard, grandson of Daniel R. & Matilda A. (Staples) Hubbard. In 1910 they were living in Center Harbor NH with siblings, Herbert M., Lillian G., Roger S. and Marion L. In 1917 when he completed his WWI Registration form he was single, working as a chauffeur for G.S. Davison of Holderness NH. His US Headstone Application shows that enlisted on 4 August 1918 and was discharged on 20 March 1919, serving in the 309th U.S. Army Guard and Fire, Corporal, Q.M. Corps. He died 14 June 1947. Buried Cedar Grove Cemetery, Peabody MA.

Leon Howard Hawkins was born 30 April 1890 in Compton PQ Canada, son of William S. “Willie” & Emma (Fitzpatrick) Hawkins.He m. 10 July 1946 in Meredith NH to Mildred C. Athearn-Cochran daughter of Allen M. Athearn & Phoebe E. Earl. In 1942 he was living at 41 Parker Street in Manchester NH, working at the Amoskeag Millyard. He died Dec 1963 in New Hampshire.

Raymond Earl Kelley was born 8 March 1894 in Moultonborough NH, son of Louis/Lewis P. & Carrie E. (Ruiter) Kelley. He had a sibling Mildred Louise Kelley. The US Dept of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File shows he died 11 May 1977 and was a U.S. Army Veteran.  Raymond married 1 Oct 1919 in Portsmouth NH to Carrie Powers, dau of Joseph E. & Sarah J. (Jackson) Powers. In 1930 he was living in Center Harbor NH, with wife Carrie H. and children Gerald, and Muriel (who m. Gordon Brown). He was U.S. Postmaster of Center Harbor NH in 1930. He is buried in Bean Cemetery, Moultonborough NH.

Berne H. Leighton was born 4 Aug 1888 in Moultonboro NH, son of William & Mabel (Mallard) Leighton. In 1920-1940 living in Saco Maine with his parents, single. He died 18 June 1952.

Leon Wyatt Simpson was born 16 Sep 1891/92 in Center Harbor NH, son of George A. & Mabel L. (Wyatt) Simpson, and grandson of Thomas S. & Ardell G. (Morrills) Simpson. Sibings included Beatrice S., who m. Alton Lovering. He m. 25 May 1934 in Salem NH to Theresa Leighton-Laponsie, dau of Harry B. & Alice (Odell) Leighton. In 1920 he was living in Center Harbor NH.  In 1942 he was living in Malden, Middlesex MA.  His headstone application states that he enlisted on 27 June 1917 from New Hampshire and served in the US Army, as a Wagoner in Supply Co. 103rd Infantry, 26th Division. He died 19 Dec 1961 and is buried in Puritan Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery, West Peabody MA.

Edward Everett Webster was born 10 December 1895 in Center Harbor NH, son of Fred Edward & Ida Mae (Gibbs) Webster. In 1900 living in Center Harbor NH with his parents and a younger sister Mary E. who m. Walter A. Hall. In 1942 he was living in Center Harbor NH, working for himself, the owner of a fruit farm.

Carl Preston Swinnerton was b 16 Sep 1898 in Danvers MA, son of Asa U. & Clara Esther (Goodale) Swinnerton. He m. 31 Aug 1935 in Franklin Falls NH to Nathalie E. Marshall, dau of John Edgar & Abbbie (Emerson) Marshall. They had a son John M. Swinnerton (b 1936 Exeter NH) In 1940 living in Lowe Merion, Montgomery Co. PA, a teacher. He is buried in Pleasant Hill Cemetery, Bradford NH.

Noyes Vail Sanborn was born 8 June 1895 in Antrim, Hillsborough Co NH, son of Louis L. & Mary (Vail) Sanborn. In 1900 living in Harrisville, Cheshire Co. NH with his parents and sibling Eleanor Marion Sanborn who m. Ralph L. Rowland. His BIRLS US Dept of Veterans Affairs file states he served in the U.S. Navy. In 1940 living in Vallejo, Solano California, a Naval Officer, married to Mabel E. (–) Sanborn. She was b abt 1897 in Rhode Island. She died in 1978. He died 24 August 1978 and is buried in Florida Memorial Gardens, Rockledge FL.


DOW, Leroy E. | Corp. | Died from Wounds 13 Sep 1918 | Co. F, 103rd Infantry | Buried Melvin Village Community Church Cemetery, Melvin NH | Name on Roll of Honor, NH State House

Ralph L. Mack* | Private | Died of Disease before 21 Dec 1918, France | Battery B, 46th Artillery CAC | Mason Cemetery, Moultonborough NH | Name on Roll of Honor, NH State House

Arthur H. Skinner* | Private | Died of Wounds 12 Jan 1919 Sandwich NH | Company A, 327th Infantry | Mason Cemetery, Moultonborough NH | Name on Roll of Honor, NH State House

Corporal Leroy Edgar Dow was born 13 Feb 1893 in Moultonboro NH, son of James B. & Lizzie E. (Garland) Dow. In 1900 living in Moultonboro NH with siblings Etta M., Bernice E., Harry E, Arlene L., Francis P., and Ernest H.  His 1917 WWI Registration form showed he was employed stableman for Thomas G.l Plant, single, 3 years in NH National Guard.  He served initially as a Private, promoted to Corporal, serving in Co. F, 103rd Infantry.  He left NYC for Europe on the ship “Saxonia,” on 25 December 1917, his residence then being Center Harbor New Hampshire, and his next of kin, a sister, Mrs. Minot Bickford. He was at first reported that he was wounded severely, and then that he had died from those wounds.  Initially buried in France, his remains were returned to the United States, and he is buried in Melvin Village Community Church Cemetery, Melvin NH.

Private Ralph Leonard Mack* was b 8 May 1892 in Sandwich NH, son of Fred M. & Nellie E. (Abbott) Mack, and grandson of George & Lois (Chase) Mack. In 1900 he was living in Sandwich NH with his parents, and siblings George F., and Ernest M. Mack. The U.S. Army Transport Service shows him as a private of Battery B, 46th Artillery CAC, with his home town being Center Harbor NH. His mother Nellie Hubbard (his father died in 1908 and his mother remarried). His death notice from disease in France was published in various newspapers on 21 December 1918, so he died prior to that date.  Originally buried in Europe, his remains were returned to the United States, where he was buried in Mason Cemetery, Moultonborough NH.

Private Arthur Herbert Skinner* was b 23 April 1891 in Sandwich NH, son and 4th child of Charles E. & Jennie (Torrey) Skinner, and grandson of Richard Skinner. In 1900 he was living in Sandwich NH with his parents, and siblings Grace E. (who married Fred W. Burrows), and Sarah/Sadie E. (who married Oscar E. Bundy). According to the U.S. Army Transport Service he was a Private in Company A, 327th Infantry. He sailed from NYC to Europe aboard the ship, Baltic on 25 April 1918. NOK: father, Charles Skinner. He is buried in Mason Cemetery, Moultonborough NH. Boston Sunday Globe, December 8, 1918. SANDWICH N.H. Dec 7–Arthur H. Skinner of Co. A, 327th Infantry, 82d Division was seriously wounded Oct 23. He was drafted Oct 22, 1917 and went “across” last April. He was born in Sandwich, the son of Charles and Jennie (Torrey) Skinner, is 27 years old and unmarried.”

—OTHERS Attributed to Center Harbor, New Hampshire—

Private Victor J. Chaisson whose next-of-kin was a Mrs. Marie Liljeberg (friend), listed Center Harbor as his home town.  He was serving as a Private in Battery B., 48th Artillery, CAC.  He departed Newport News VA in October 1918 aboard the ship “Susquehanna,” bound for Europe.

[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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3 Responses to New Hampshire WWI Military: Heroes of Center Harbor

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

  2. Amy says:

    It’s amazing to see how many men served (and how many died) from such a small town. And I never knew Shirley could be a man’s name!

  3. Janice Brown says:

    Amy, Shirley is not a common first name for a man, but I have seen it used before in the same way. And yes in the case of Center Harbor they not only filled their town quota, but their memorial is really beautiful.

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