New Hampshire WWI Military: Heroes of Easton

Photograph of the Easton Town Hall from the 1976 Annual Town Report.

Easton is a small town in Grafton County, New Hampshire near Franconia, Just following WWI the town’s population dropped by 42% in 1920 to 131 from a high of 226 in 1910. Today the population is still under 300 people.

During that terrible World War, the citizens of Easton sent their quota of six  young men to serve. There were brothers Ottiewell and Wesley Eastman, Oliver Bowles, John I. Hoyt, Harley Noyes, and Roscoe Young. Wesley Eastman never returned to his home town, being killed in action (as described later).

Old photograph of Easton NH logging operation dated 1891 From the 1976 Town of Easton Annual Report.

I would like to thank Toni Woodruff, Town Clerk of Easton NH and Priscilla Hindley, librarian at the Abbie Greenleaf Library in Franconia for assisting me with information and photographs.

All those who served during WWI
including one who made the ultimate sacrifice
with a connection to Easton, New Hampshire

The following legend is used to show the source of the name provided on this list. Soldier  is listed on:
[A] WWI Roll of Honor, Doric Hall, State House, Concord NH
[B] Adjutant General’s List of Killed in Action from New Hampshire
[C] Buried in Europe, American Battle Monuments Commission
[D] Other Official Military Sources
[E] Gold Star Mothers of Massachusetts
[F] Birth and/or Marriage Records
[G] U.S. Military Transport Records
[H] Soldiers of the Great War, Haulsee, W.M.
[I] Newspaper notices
* Photograph or likeness provided or available.
[#] Numbers refer to a footnote following the list with additional information on a particular soldier or sailor.

Oliver Lee Bowles | P1C | Headquarters Co 37th Art 41st Brigade, U.S. Army | Enlisted: 13 Jul 1918; Honorably Discharged: 1 Apr 1919 | Died 16 Dec 1980 |[D] [G][1]
Ottiewell Eastman | BM2c | United States Navy | Enlisted 4-24-17, discharged 8-18-19 | Died 6 June 1958 | Buried Easton Cemetery, Easton NH | [G][2]
Wesley M. Eastman* | Private | Killed in Action 19 October 1918 | Co B 309th Inf. 78th Div. | Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery | |[A][B][C][E][H][Photo][3]
John Isaac Hoyt* | P1C | Co K 103rd Infantry |  | Died 25 May 1972 | Buried Long Island National Cemetery, Farmingdale NY | [G][4]
Harley C. Noyes | Private | 15th Battery Field Artillery | Died 25 Feb 1953 | Buried Lakeview Cemetery, New Canaan CT |[G][5]
Roscoe A. Young |P1C | Base Hospital No 66, Medical Department (VT) | | |[G][6]

✪🌟✪  B I O G R A P H I E S  ✪🌟✪

[1] Oliver Lee Bowles was born 28 August 1893 in Easton, Grafton Co. NH son of Fred H. & Abbie S. (Huntress) Bowles. In 1900 he was living in Easton NH with his parents and Huntress grandparents. He appears to have been an only child. His WWI Draft Registration form was completed in June of 1918 and shows him living in Easton NH, his occupation farmer. He was single, of medium height and slender build, with blue eyes and light hair. His military records show that he served during WWI as a Private First Class, Service #2796300 in Headquarters Company, 37th Artillery, 41st Brigade.  He enlisted 13 July 1918 and was honorably discharged on 1 April 1919.  Oliver Lee Bowles married twice, 1st) 28 June 1924 in Littleton NH to Josie B. House, daughter of Clinton E. & Lottie (Gilbert) House. She b. Lyme NH.  They divorced.  He married 2d) 29 Dec 1942 in Easton NH to Phyllis Elaine Harwood, daughter of Thomas William & Nellie Bertha (Sayer) Harwood. She was born in Bakerfield VT.   The 1980 Easton Town Report shows that he died 16 December 1980 in Hartford Vermont.  The SSDI indicates he had also been living in Charlestown NH.

[2] Ottiwell Laurence Eastman was born 20 July 1892 in Northfield, Merrimack Co., New Hampshire, son and oldest child of John Alba “Alby J” & Rose N. (Lane) Eastman. In 1900 he was living in Canaan, Grafton Co. NH with his parents and siblings, Wesley M., Roscoe Franklin., Albert T., and George W.  In 1920 he was living in Easton NH, his mother now a widow, and he now had a sister, Gertrude R. Eastman. Before WWI Ottiwell had joined the United States Navy, enlisting 22 December 1911 and receiving an honorable discharge on 21 December 1915 (4 years). During WWI he enlisted again on 24 April 1917 and was discharged 18 August 1919. He held the rank of BM2c (Boatswain’s mate 2nd Class).   He married before 1922 to Vivian E. Stephenson.  She was b. abt 1881 in Hudson MA.  They had a daughter, Audrey Eastman born 6 Feb 1922 Clinton MA.   In 1942 he was living in Northfield, Merrimack Co., NH.  He died 6 June 1958 and is buried in Easton Cemetery, Easton NH. [Editor’s note: He was older brother to Wesley M. Eastman].

[3] Wesley McClellan Eastman* was born 7 Nov 1894 in Orange, Grafton Co. New Hampshire, son of John Alba “Alby” & Rose N. (Lane) Eastman.  He was a sibling to Ottiwell L. Eastman mentioned above along with siblings, Roscoe F., Albert Thomas, and George Washington.  In 1900 he was living in Canaan, Grafton Co. NH with parents and brothers.  Only a few years later on 15 Jan 1903 his father Alby, who was a brakeman on the local railroad, hit his head on a bridge and died of a broken neck. In June of 1917 when he completed his WWI Registration form, Wesley McClellan Eastman was residing in Easton NH, employed as a “Mill Man,”by Homer Preston of Sharon VT. He was single, of
medium height and build, with gray eyes and dark hair.   Military transport documents show that he was sent to Europe as a Private in Company B., 309th Infantry, 78th Division on 20 May 1918 aboard the ship Morvada, departing from Brooklyn New York.  His service number was 1749323, and his mother Rose N. Eastman was noted as next of kin.  Military documents show that he was  killed in action on 19 October 1918. He was buried in Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery.  In the 1930s the name of his mother, Rose, was on the “Gold Star Mothers” list of New Hampshire, but it is unknown whether she went to Europe to visit her son’s grave.

John I. Hoyt. Photograph Courtesy
of his great niece, Holly B. Bull.

[4] John Isaac Hoyt was born 24 November 1897 in Newbury VT, son of Amos W. & Marion (Matheson) Hoyt. During World War I he served as a Private First Class in Company K 103rd Infantry.  He departed New York City on 27 Sep 1917 aboard the ship, Lapland.  He returned to the United States from France, arriving in Boston MA on 28 Mar 1919 aboard the ship, America.  He married 14 March 1925 in Lisbon NH to Christie O. Drew, dau of John & Julia (Perry) Drown. (her 2nd marr) She b. Haverhill NH.  He died 25 May 1972, and was buried on the 30th, at Long Island National Cemetery, Farmingdale NY. [My thanks to the generosity his niece for providing the photograph you see on the left]. John I. Hoyt is also honored on the Haverhill and Pike monument, see second photograph there.


[5] Harley Calvin Noyes was born 3 July 1892 in Easton, New Hampshire, son of Ora W. & Elma (Huntress) Noyes.During WWI he was drafted, and served in the 15th Battery Field Artillery, leaving for Europe aboard the ship Minnekahda, on 21 July 1918 from New York City.  He married 8 May 1925 in Manhattan NY to Alice B. Dixon. She was b. abt 1902 in CT. They had a daughter, Geraldine Helen Noyes, b 14 Jan 1930 in Stamford CT (who married Anthony Dabkowski. In 1930 they were living in Darien, Fairfield Co. CT.  Harley Calvin Noyes died 25 February 1953 and is buried in Lakeview Cemetery, in New Canaan CT .

[6] Roscoe Adams Young was born 26 July 1894 in Easton, Grafton, New Hampshire, son of Alfred T & Mary L. (Poor) Young.  In 1900 he was living with his parents in Easton NH. He had one sibling, Alice Mary Young who married 20 October 1921 in Lisbon NH to Henry A. Stevenson, son of George W. & Edith L. (Colburn) Stevenson.  He also had siblings Helen A. Young-Desrocher and Delphine Amy Young (who married Henry Nathan Wing).  Roscoe Adams Young’s WWI Registration form states that he was a farmer and mail clerk in June of 1917 employed by the U.S. Postmaster. He was single, tall, of slender frame, with blue eyes and brown hair.  During WWI he served as a Private First Class in Base Hospital No 66, Medical Department (VT).  Roscoe Adams Young married 23 April 1920 in Lakewood, Ocean Co NJ to Cecelia Day Emerson, daughter of Arthur W. & Mabel E. (Day) Emerson. He died 7 May 1939 in Pittsfield Maine, aged 44 of Pulmonary TB. He was buried in Blossom Hill Cemetery, Concord 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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