New Hampshire WWI Military: Heroes of Dover

Photograph: Dover NH City Hall
(288 Central Street)  with WWI
monument shown on front lawn.

The City of Dover New Hampshire dedicated six historic monuments and markers to those who served and died during World War I. In this article, I focus on the largest of these, located in front of the Dover Municipal Building (City Hall) on Central Avenue.

Three plaques are affixed to a granite monument.[see photo][see descriptions of other Dover NH WWI monuments]. If any of my readers have additional information  on , or photographs of, any of these brave men, I hope you will leave a comment. 

Old Postcard of Central Square,
Dover NH pre-1917.

The City of Dover’s 1925 Annual Report included a listing of all citizens who participated in the World War. I will not transcribe that entire list, but you can view it here.  Those who made the supreme sacrifice are described below.  There are two additional names from the NH Adjutant General’s WWI Casualty list (George E. King and Carl C. Taylor). This was a labor of love that hopefully brings these forgotten heroes to light with detail on their lives and service. The WWI monument at Dover’s City Hall is inscribed (partially) as follows:


Heroes of DOVER NH
During WWI

[A] WWI Roll of Honor, Doric Hall, NH State House, Concord NH
[B] NH Adjutant General’s List of Killed in Action from New Hampshire
[C] U.S. Army Transport Records, WWI
[D] Inscribed on WWI monument at City Hall, Dover NH
[E] WWI Draft Registration
[F] Death, Burial certificates and/or Headstone Application
[G] Canadian Military Documents (online)
[H] Newspaper articles regarding service and/or death
[I] American Battle Monuments Commission / or / Arlington Cemetery documentation
[J] Miscellaneous Other documents
[#] refers to a biography following the list with additional information on a particular soldier.


Photograph of Pitt S. Willand
from the 1920 UNH yearbook.

John W. Christie | P1c | Killed in Action, 13 October 1918, France | Co. I, 325th Infantry, National Army | Buried in USA, unknown location|John W. Christie Post V.F.W. named in his honor| [A][B][C][D][E][H][1]
William H. Dobbins |Private| Killed in Action 4 October 1918 France| Co. H., 18th Infantry | unknown burial location | Dobbins Square named in his memory, Broadway & St. Johns Street, Dover NH | [A][B][C][D][E][H][2]
George W. Drouin*|Private| Died of Disease 11 March 1919 France|Co A, 309th Infantry|Buried USA, grave unknown|Credited to Lawrence MA|Drouin monument in Dover NH (Chapel Street and Portland Ave|[A][D][E][H][3]
George H. Elam|Soldier |Died of Disease (pneumonia and measles) 9 Mar 1918 Walter Reed Army Hospital, Washington DC| U.S. Army| Shaker Cemetery, Canterbury NH [A][D][E][F][4]
Leland W Fernald | Driver | Died of Wounds (shrapnel to head) 5 August 1916. France |5th Brigade, Canadian Field Artillery, CEF | Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Belgium | [D][F][G][5]
King, George E. |Private |Killed in Action 19 15 July 1918 near Jaulgonne, France |38th Infantry Reg., 3rd Div. | Oise-Aisne American Cemetery|Credited also to Springfield MA | [A][B][J][6]

Patrick Larvin’s Obituary
from newspaper of 22 April 1916.

Patrick G. Larvin|Private|Died of Wounds 13 April 1916, No. 17 Casualty Clearing Station, France| 20th Battalion, 4th Brigade, Central Ontario Regiment, Canadian Infantry|Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, France| [D][G][H][7]
Donald W. Libby* |2nd Lieut. | Died of Disease 5 Oct 1918, France|Company A, 56th Pioneer Infantry|Mount Pleasant Cemetery, South Portland Maine|Libby memorial marker on Arch Street, Dover NH|[A][C][D][E][8]
Paul L. Nelson [9]
Leon R. Otis|Soldier|Died 6 Oct 1918 (prob influenza) Camp Mead, Maryland | U.S. Army|Riverside Cemetery, Newmarket NH|[A][D][E][F][10]
Fabien Parent|Private|Died 28 Sep 1918 France|147th Inf. 37th Div., U.S. Army|Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery|Drouin memorial marker at Central Ave and Chestnut Street|[A][B][C][D][E][F][11]
Irving W. Rossiter|Gunner’s Mate 2c|Died of Disease (pleurisy suppurative/diphtheria at Naval station, Brooklyn NY|U.S. Navy|Pine Hill Cemetery, Dover NH|[A][D][F][H][12]
Peter Suzon|Soldier|Died of disease (lobar pneumonia) 2 October 1918 Camp Devens Base Hospital, Harvard MA|46th Co.,  12th Training Battalion, 151st Depot Brigade, U.S. Army|St. Mary Cemetery (new), Dover NH |[D][H][13]
Carl C. Taylor|Sergeant| Killed by Accident 27 October 1917 |Woodlawn Cemetery, South Berwick ME |[B][F][H][14]
Willard Tucker |Soldier| Died 9 October 1918 Fort Constitution, New Castle NH|U.S. Army|Pine Hill Cemetery, Dover NH|[D][F][H][15]
Earl B. Welch|Sergeant| Killed in Action 16 Oct 1918 near St. Juvin France|Co. B, 326th Infantry, 82md Div.|Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery, France|Find-a-grave site| Credited to Revere MA, Square named in his memory in Revere|[E][J][16]
Pitt Sawyer Willand*|Lieut.|Died 10 Oct 1918 Tuscumbia, Colbert, Alabama|U.S. Army| Forest Glade Cemetery, Somersworth NH|[A][D][E][F][J][17]


[1] John William Christie, born 21 September 1895 in Dover NH, son of Joseph James & Elizabeth Veronica (Hanaghan/Hannagin) Christie. [Note: surname sometimes listed as “Christy.”]  He grew up in Dover and in 1900 and 1910 he can be found with his parents and family living there.  John had siblings, Lovinia (who m. Edward F. Reilly), Elizabeth (who m. George P. McNally), Martha (who m. James G. Fears), James, Margaret (d. 1982), Katherine “Kate” (m. William T. Whenal), and Thomas.  John W. Christie completed his  WWI Draft Registration form in Dover NH on 5 June 1917. At that time he was living at 58 Back Driver Road Dover, card mill man for American Woolen Co. in Dover. single. He describes himself as tall and slender with gray eyes and deep brown hair.  WWI Military Transport passenger lists show him leaving New York City for Europe on 25 April 1918 aboard the ship, Karmala. His service number was 1899420 and he was in Company I, 325th Infantry, National Army. His mother in Dover NH was listed as his next of kin.  The history of the 1st Battalion, 325th Infantry Regiment shows that it was constituted 5 August 1917 in the National Army as Company A, 325th Infantry, an element of the 82d Division. It was organized 1 September 1917 at Camp Gordon, Georgia. Later it was demobilized 18 May 1919 at Camp Upton, New York.  The 325th first stop was England as evidenced by several newspaper reports that on May 11, 1918 they paraded for King George, as this U.S. regiment was the first to cross through England before going to France. Reportedly King George presented each man in the 325th regiment a letter of thanks.  John W. Christie’s  325th Regiment was a part of the Meuse-Argonne Forest Offensive, the largest and bloodiest battle in U.S. History (Note: it lasted 47 days — 26 Sep to 11 Nov 1918). 26,277 American soldiers were killed, and the 325th lost 94% of their initial strength, including John W. Christie.  He was killed in action on 13 October 1918.  At first he was reported missing in action, and then a month later, killed in action. Though first buried on French soil, military records show that his remains were returned to the United States  from Antwerp, Belgium aboard the ship, Wheaton, arriving in Hoboken, NJ on 6 August 1921.  He is probably buried in the Dover NH area where his family lived. For now the exact spot is unknown. Dover’s Christie Post, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) was named in his honor.
[2] William Henry Dobbins was born 22 July 1894 in Dover NH, son of James & Alice Mary (Cassidy) Dobbins. He had siblings Fredrick, Harry, John, James, Thomas Joseph, and Annie. William grew up in Dover and in the 1900 and 1910 U.S. Census he and his family are shown living there, at 9 Portland Street, and later at Young Street.  His WWI Registration form was completed June 5, 1917 in Dover NH. He stated he was a laborer for the City (Dover) Department. He was single, short, of medium stature with brown eyes and dark hair.  The U.S. Transport Service Passenger Lists shows William H. Dobbins departing Boston MA on 8 July 1918 on the SS Derbyshire bound for Europe. His service number was 2723028, and he was a Private in Company I, 303rd Infantry, U.S. Army. His mother, Mrs. Alice Dobbins of 11 N. Pine Street Dover was listed as his next of kin. Other military records show him among the troops departing from Winnall Down Camp in England on 24 July 1918 aboard the Caesarea bound for France. In November of 1918 he was on the Missing in Action List, which was corrected in December to Killed in Action. Probably transferred to 18th Infantry as his memorial plaque states such (see next).   A memorial plaque was placed by the City of Dover at Broadway and St. John’s Street that reads: In Memory of  | PVT. WILLIAM H. DOBBINS |Co H, 18th Infantry |who died in France | October 4, 1918.” His burial location is unknown.
[3] George Willis Drouin was born 20 Feb 1890 Dover NH, son of Leon Ferdinand & Georgianna (Morrisette) Drouin. He had siblings Dora Marie (who m. Felix E. O’Neill), Leone, Beatrice and Hadrian Edward, Rudolph (who m. Evelyn Marie Daverio), Germaine and Raymond O. (who m. Jeanette Claire Allard). In the 1900 and 1910 U.S. Census he is living in Dover NH with his parents and siblings, first at 46 Forest Street and later on West Street. He completed a WWI Draft form on 2 June 1917 at Lawrence MA. He was employed there as a mill operative for Pacific Print Works. He was single, short, stout with brown eyes and dark brown hair. U.S. Army Transport Passenger lists show that he left Brooklyn NY on 20 May 1918 headed for Europe aboard the ship Morvada, as part of Company A., 309th Infantry, 155th Brigade, 78th Division. His service number was 1749210.   After his death on 11 March 1919 of disease, he was first buried in France. On 1 May 1921 his remains were returned from Cherbourg, France on the ship Wheaton bound for Hoboken NJ. His rank is given as Private First Class, and service number 1749210. The book, Gold Star Mothers of Massachusetts, credits him to Lawrence MA. “Drouin, George Willis: died 11 March 1919 in France of disease. Ent. 26 April 1918, 153de D.B.; trans. 15 May 1918 to Co. A, 309th Inf., 78th Div. Wounded slightly 19 Oct 1918. Overseas 20 May 1918. Born 20 Feb 1890 at Dover NH son of Leon and Georgiana (Morrisette, died 1923) Drouin (both born in Canada); brother of Leone, Rodolph, Adrien, Raymond, Mrs. Dora O’Neil, and Mrs. Germaine Nadeau. Drouin Square, Dover N.H. named in his memory.”  Dover NH’s 1925 Annual report on page 22 shows: “The dedicatory ceremonies at the unveiling of the memorial to Private George W. Drouin, which occurred last November, was an observance which will live long in the memory of those who were in attendance. The ceremonies were impressive and uplifting, befitting the visual and permanent expression of a sorrowing people for the great sacrifice offered by Private Drouin at the altar of justice and humanity. Through the generosity of Miss Susan Woodman, the city has come into possession of a very desirable tract of land on Central Avenue, immediately north of Hanson Street, which might very appropriately be devoted to perpetuating the memory of other Dover citizens who gave up their lives in the Great World War…” [Valedictory Address (outgoing mayor) by Hon. John W. Morrison, delivered January 6. 1926].

Photograph: At Canterbury
Shakers, 1895, Elmer R. Pearson; from
the NH Historical Society

[4] George Henry Elam was born 12 July 1892 in Providence, Rhode Island son of William H. & Mary (Copley) Elam. He had at least three siblings,  John William Elam (b 1866 m. 5 Jan 1887 Providence RI to Ada Blanche Greenwood, dau of Abraham & Ellen Greenwood), Sister Aida Elam (1882-1962) a Shaker and sister at Canterbury, New Hampshire., and Ruth A.C. Elam (married George E. Scholfield).In 1910 he was living in Canterbury NH, as a member of the Shaker community, along with his sister, Aida.  George H. Elam graduated in 1916 from a two-year program at New Hampshire College (now UNH) in Durham NH.  In June of 1917 he completed his WWI Registration Card in Dover NH. He was aged 24 living at 111 Stark Avenue in Dover, working as a herdsman for Middle Brook Farm in Dover NH. At that time he was single, short, of medium stature with gray eyes and brown hair. On his registration he states he was formerly 2 years in NH cadets. [probably at NH College now UNH]. His death certificate states he died of pneumonia as the result of measles on 9 March 1918 in Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, D.C. On that document his occupation is shown as “enlisted in the U.S. Army.” His regiment and other details is unknown.  He was  buried on 15 March 1918 in Shaker Cemetery, Canterbury NH per his death certificate.
[5] Leland “Lee” Wingate Fernald was born 21 January 1889 in Trois-Rivières QC Canada, son of Frank Freeman & Emma Jane (Wingate) Fernald.  In 1900 he was living with his parents and family in Dover, New Hampshire at 11 Nelson Street. Siblings included George Copeland Fernald (who married Eunice T. Wallace), Isabel Fernald (who married Frederick Wyman Whitman).  During WWI Leeland W. Fernald enlisted on 11 November 1915 at Esquimalt, British Columbia, Canadian in the Canadian Expeditionary Force [see his original records]. At that time his next of kin was a sister, Mrs. M.E. Murphy of Bakersfield California. His occupation was painter. He stood 5 ft 9-1/2 inches tall, fresh complexion, hazel eyes, Brown hair, Methodist, scar left elbow. His records show he had service in the local California infantry (probably national guard) earlier. He was assigned to 5th Regt. C.G.A. as a DRIVER.  Further Canadian military records show he arrived in England on 27 Dec 1915 aboard the ship Missanabie. From there he arrived in Havre France 16 March 1916. The day before his death he was attached to a French Mortar Group. He died on 5 August 1916 of shrapnel wound to his head at No. 10 Casualty Clearing Station (5th Artillery Brigade). At the time of his death, his father Frank F. Fernald was living at 11 Nelson St. Dover NH. [Editor’s note: it appears that he served in more than one brigade, and his original records give those details.].  He is buried in Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Belgium.
[6] George Edward King born 12 June 1898 at Conway, MA, son of Edward & Mary (Lacrosse/Lacasse) King. [Editor’s note: I have not been able to discover his connection to Dover, New Hampshire. The NH Adjutant General’s list of WWI casualties credits him to Dover, and so I have included him here.]. THE GOLD STAR RECORD OF MASSACHUSETTS shows: “King, George Edward; killed in action 15 July 1918 opposite Jaulgonne. Enl. 22 Aug 1917, Co. F., 38th Inf. trans. 1 Dec to Co D., 7th M.G. Bn; 15 Feb 1918 to Co. F, 38th Inf. 3d Div. Overseas 29 March 1918. Born 12 June 1898 at Conway, Massachusetts, son of Edward (born in Canada) and Mary (Lacrosse, born in Canada) King, who has since married Leon E. Ferron; brother of George Leon, Walter Henry, and Rose Louise, all of Chesterfield. Laborer. [in this book credited to Springfield, Hampden Co. MA.”
[7] Patrick G. Larvin was born 24 November 1893 [or Nov 26, 1895] in Dover New Hampshire (probably Rollinsford), son of Dominick “Joseph” Larvin (who was an iceman in Dover NH in 1900 for  J.S. Abbott) and probably Mary A. McMahon. Patrick had at least three siblings–Joseph, John and a sister.  Patrick G. Larvin enlisted in the Canadian army on 8 January 1915 in Toronto, Canada. At that time he stated his ‘father Joseph was living c/o James McElroy in Dover NH.’ Patrick was 5 ft 7-1/2 inches tall, with blue eyes and dark hair, and listed that he was a Roman Catholic.  During WWI he sailed from Montreal to Europe on the S.S. Megantic, a member of the 20th Battalion, Canadian Infantry.  He died of wounds on 13 April 1916, 5:30 a.m. at No. 17 Casualty Clearing Station (at Ana Jana Siding). He was buried in Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, VI-B-14A.  The Lijssenthoek Cemetery web site statesHe was one of a party attempting to bury a comrade behind the line, when he was wounded by a shell, on the night of April 14, 1916.”
[8] Donald Whitney Libby was born 10 August 1891 in Dover, Strafford Co. NH, son of

Donald W. Libby photo and biography
from 1920 UNH memorial yearbook.
He was Class of 1917.

Frank M. & Dora (Burbank) Libby.  He had siblings, S. Maud (who married Josiah P. Jenness) and Margie Burbank (who married Ralph Edwin Watson).  In 1900 he was living with his parents and siblings at 24 Rogers Street in Dover NH.  By 1910 he had moved to Worcester MA, living with his sister, Margie and working as an office boy in a grinding company.  On 5 June 1917 his WWI Draft Registration form was completed in Dover NH. At that time he was single, living on Central Avenue in Dover NH, was slender, of medium build and height, with brown hair and hazel eyes. At that time he was employed as a farmer for Hospital Cottages, Baldwinville MA. [Editor’s note: Hospital Cottages was incorporated in 1882, as a charitable corporation for the care, training, and treatment of “diseased, maimed, feeble-minded, destitute and orphan children.]   The U.S. Army Transport Service Passenger Lists show that he departed Hoboken NJ for Europe on 4 September 1918, at that time his place of residence being Worcester MA and his next of kin, his sister Mrs. R.E. Watson. He was a Sargent in Company A, 56th Pioneer Infantry, Service Number 1230063.   He died of disease on 5 October 1918 in France, and several newspapers reported his death, as then Lieutenant. He was buried at first in Europe and then when the war ended, his body was returned from St. Nazaire, France on 22 November 1920 arriving in Hoboken, NJ on 15 December 1920.He was buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery, South Portland Maine. In addition the City of Dover erected a Libby memorial marker on Arch Street, Dover NH.
[9] Paul L. Nelson  — Unknown. If any of my readers has information on this man, please leave a comment.

OTIS obituary, Newmarket
Advertiser newspaper of
18 Oct 1918.

[10] Leon Roscoe Otis was born 28 January 1890 in Durham NH, son of Roscoe S. & Ida Bell (Locke) Otis.  He had siblings, Winifred “Winnie” F., Maude E.[Towle], Charles G., Lena Locke [Atherton, Stevens], Paul Wesley. In 1900 and 1910 he was living with his family in Durham, NH.  He completed his WWI Registration form in Chester Co. PA.  He indicated he was living at 23 Prospect Street in Dover NH, his occupation a crane runner for Midvale Steel & Ordnance Company, Worth Brothers Co., in Coatesville PA.  He was single, of medium build and stature, with brown hair and blue eyes.  He entered the U.S. Army during WWI, and while in training at Camp Mead, Maryland, he died on 6 October 1918, probably of influenza.  [Editor’s Note: Historical accounts show that the flu first appeared in Camp Mead on 24 September 1918].  He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, New Market, NH.
[11] Fabien Parent was born 2 September 1886 at Saint-Mathieu, Rimouski, Quebec, Canada, son of Ferdinand & Clarina (Devost) Parent. He was baptized Joseph Fabien Parent in 1887 at St-Mathieu-de-Rioux, Québec (Quebec). Fabien had siblings Joseph, Josephine, Ermel, Methilda, Leontine, Alphonse, Paul, Clarina and Rose.  In 1901 he was living in Saint-Mathieu, Rimouski, Quebec, Canada with his family.  In 1910 he can be found in the U.S. Census living, as a roomer, on Chapel Street in Newmarket, New Hampshire. At that time he was a weaver in a cotton mill.  His WWI Draft Registration form was completed in Dover NH, his residence at 512 Central Avenue. He was a weaver for Pacific Mills in Dover NH. His personal description included that he was single,with gray eyes, dark brown hair and of medium build and stature. The Military Transport Passenger lists for WWI show him as “Fabin Parent” leaving Newport News VA aboard the ship Pocohontas bound for Europe. He was a Private in Co. C, 147th Infantry, 37th Division, with a service number 1749233.  Fabien Parent was Killed in Action on 28 September 1918 in France and was buried at Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery there. Dover created a memorial for him,  Drouin memorial marker at Central Ave and Chestnut Street.
[12] Irving Walter Rossiter was  born 27 April 1897 at Dover, Strafford Co. NH, son of William A. & Mary E. (Sykes) Rossiter.In 1900 he was living in Dover NH with his parents on 128 Central Avenue, at the home of his Sykes maternal grandparents.  By 1910 his mother had remarried to Joseph Cornell, and he was living with them at 3 Stack Avenue in Dover NH.  Irving W. Rossiter enlisted in the U.S. Navy at Philadelphia PA on 4 December 1917.  He died in Brooklyn NY on 7 April 1918, aged 22y 11d 20m, of either diphtheria, or from pleurisy suppurative, depending on which death record you look at. His remains were returned to Dover NH where he was buried in Pine Hill Cemetery, Dover NH.  [Editor’s note: Find-a-grave that is linked here shows his tombstone but they spell his name incorrectly. I have requested it be corrected.]
[13] Peter Suzon/Suzion was born 26 May 1893 [or 8 Jun 1895] in Aurora, Lebanon, Syrian Arab Republic. His WWI Registration form (as Peter Suzion) was completed in Maine, his residence at that time being Sagadahoc at 69 Center Street. He was single, of medium height and build, with black hair and brown eyes.   The Bath Maine Independent newspaper of Saturday, July 27,1918 describes: “boys who were to leave for Camp Devens, with their red ribbons pinned to their lapels, were in the vicinity of the Armory and at nine the entire lot had climbed the stairs to the hall, where they were taken in hand good naturedly by patrol leader Harry A. Starbird of the squad, who after briefly addressing them, began drilling the men for their better appearance en route to camp. The men quickly learned the necessary commands and made a most creditably military appearance as they marched to the train…. from Bath, Peter Suzion.”  His death record shows him as “Peter Suzoni” as being a Private in the 46th Co.,  12th Training Battalion, 151st Depot Brigade, dying of lobar pneumonia at the Base Hospital at Camp Devens in Harvard MA on 2 October 1918. He was 25 years old. The document shows he was to be buried in Dover NH.  The Obituary from Foster’s Daily Democrat (courtesy of the Dover NH Public Library) adds: “Funeral of Private Peter Suzon. The remains of Private Peter Suzon of this city who died at Camp Devens yesterday following an attack of influenza arrived in this city last evening at 5:48 o’clock and were taken to the parlors of Undertaker McGill. The funeral services were held at St. Mary’s church at 10:30 o’clock this morning Rev. Fr. Kurk officiating. Interment followed in the family lot in St. Mary’s new cemetery under the direction of Undertaker McGill.”
[14] Carl C. Taylor was born January 1898 in Dayton, York Co., ME, son of Chester O. & Etta May (Bradgon) Taylor, grandson of Hannibal D. & Eleanor A. (Lord) Taylor. [His mother Etta was previously married to Samual Foss.]  He had half-siblings, Walter Raymond Foss, Edith M. Foss, Ethel A. Foss; and full sibling, Royal Taylor.  In 1900 he was living with his family in Kennebunkport Maine. In 1910 he was living with his family in Ossipee, Carroll Co. NH.  Several newspaper articles of November 1917 printed a story similar to what follows: Date: November 8, 1917. Tampa Tribune newspaper (Tampa FL): “Sergeant Carl C. Taylor, infantry, died October 27 from a gunshot wound believed to have been suffered accidentally. His next of kin is his father, Chester O. Taylor, 3 Coches St., Dover, N.H.”  He was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, So. Berwick Maine.  His tombstone reads, “Our Hero of the World War. We Loved Him.” His name was included on the NH Adjutant General’s Casualty List but cannot be found on the Dover NH memorial.
[15] William G. Tucker was born March 1894 in Willimantic, Windham Co., CT, son of Samuel P. & Amelia Frances “Mae” (Tarbox) Tucker. He had siblings Rose F., Lena M., Mildred, Sydney U., James N. (who m. Marion A. Chesley) and Esther Sarah (who married Frederick R. Perkins). Willard Tucker married in Portsmouth NH on 14 September 1918 to 18-yr old Maud A. Bennett, daughter of Fred N. & Mabel J (Shattuck) Bennett.  His marriage would be brief, for he died a month later, a soldier in the U.S. Army, of influenza on 9 October 1918 at Fort Constitution in Newcastle NH. He was buried in Pine Hill Cemetery, Dover NH 2 days following.
[16] Earl(e) Byron Welch was born 9 November 1892 in Dover, Strafford Co. NH, son of Frank H. & Caroline I. (Robinson) Welch. In the 1910 U.S. Census he was living with his parents in Dover NH, at 18 Cushing Street, with his father owning a Meat Shop. He appears to have been an only child. Earl Welch served during WWI, and the U.S. Transport Service Passenger Lists show that he departed New York City for Europe aboard the Mauretania on 29 April 1918. At that time his next of kin was an aunt, Emily F. Marston. His service No. was 1900676.  The book, Gold Star Mothers of Massachusetts states: “Welch, Earle Byron, Sergeant; killed in action 16 October 1918 (near St. Juvin). Ent. 4 Oct 1917, 151st D.B.; trans to Co. B, 326th Inf., 82d Div. Sergeant 1 Dec., 1917. Overseas 298 April 1918. // Born 9 Nov 1892 at Dover NH son of Frank Herbert and Caroline Isabelle (Robinson, died 1905) Welch. Plumber. Resided in Massachusetts nine years. Square named in his memory.”  He is buried in Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery, France.

Photo and biography of  Pitt Willand from his 1916  UNH yearbook.

[17] Pitt Sawyer Willand was born 23 May 1893 in Dover, Strafford Co. NH, son of William W. & Nettie M. (Milliken) Willand.  He had a sibling, Marjorie. Pitt attended Dover NH grammar school and graduated from the high school in 1911, and from UNH (then called NH College) in 1916.  He completed his WWI Registration form on 5 June 1917 in Manchester NH. He was single, living at 1046 Hayward Street, of medium build and stature with black hair and brown eyes. He was employed as a chemist for W.H. McElwain Co. Manchester NH.  Pitt S. Welland married 30 Nov 1917 in Somersworth NH to Olive Etta Grant, daughter of Lindsey E. & Georgie Etta (Ricker) Grant. At that time he was a government chemist, she was a school teacher. [In 1921 she was a widow living at 1 Beacon Street, Dover NH].  Military and probate records show that he was died in Tuscumbia, Colbert Co. Alabama on 10 October 1918, the cause not shown, while serving as a Lieut. in the military. [Editor’s note: history states that there was a nitrate plant in this area, and it is possible he worked there as it was government-run].  He was buried in Forest Glade Cemetery in Somerworth NH.  His widow did not marry, and her obituary follows: Obituary Portsmouth Herald, 14 March 1951, page 3.  Mrs. Nettie M. Willand, 84, of 228 Highland street, widow of William W. Willand, died this morning at Portsmouth hospital early this morning. A native of Biddeford, Me., she was born May 25, 1866, the daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Charles Milliken and resided in Dover for 52 years before coming to Portsmouth 16 years. ago. Mrs. Willand was a past noble grand of Purity Rebekah Lodge, Dover and held the Degree of Chivalry. She was a member of the First Parish Congregational church, Dover. Survivors include a daughter, Mrs. Marjorie Herrin; Portsmouth two grandsons, the Rev. Pitt S. Willand, a teacher at the Episcopal Theological seminary in Cambridge Mass and Anson Willand, Southwest Harbor Me., a great-granddaughter and several nieces and nephews.”

On May 19, 1924 a memorial group of trees in memory of Dover soldiers who gave up their lives in the World War were set up in Guppy Park and dedicated with appropriate ceremonies on May 25th. The trees were presented by citizens to John W. Christie Post, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Dover Post, American Legion. The representatives of the posts selected the place in the park for planting the trees.

My thanks to Denise LaFrance and Carolyn Tremblay in the Reference Department at the Dover Public Library who helped me locate the obituary of an elusive soldier.

Left to Right: Thomas J. Keelty, and his father John J. Keelty, Jr. (who served in both WWI and WWII). Photograph provided by Thomas’ daughter, Karen Babb. Colorized and used with her permission.

ADDENDUM 1 February 2022
It recently came to my attention that a name had been left off the list of Dover’s WWI service. The granddaughter of John J. Keelty wrote to me and indeed, John J. Keelty Jr. was a veteran of both World War I and World War II.  John J. Keelty Jr. was the son of John J. & Bridget (Woods) Keelty. Both of his parents were born in Ireland, and immigrated to the United States. They married in 1893 in South Berwick Maine, and had several children who were born in Dover NH, including John.

John J. Keelty was born 2 Nov 1897 in Dover NH and died 14 January 1990.  He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on 1 May 1916, and was honorably discharged on 30 Nov 1936.  When WW2 broke out he once again enlisted on 5 Aug 1940, and was honorably discharged on  27 Dec 1946.  He is buried in the New Saint Mary Cemetery in Dover.  John J. Keelty Jr. married Estelle H. Kerr with whom he celebrated a 50th wedding anniversary in 1973. They had several children including John Keelty, Thomas Keelty, George Keelty, Doris (Keelty) Cheney, and Lois (Keelty) Carignan.

[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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8 Responses to New Hampshire WWI Military: Heroes of Dover

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

  2. Linda Hunter says:

    Hello Janice, My grandfather served in the Navy during WW I. He lived in Dover. I have information and photos if you are interested.

  3. Stephen Mahoney says:

    Hello Janice, My grandfather, John Patrick Murphy, and his 3 brothers all served, 3 of them in France (John and twins James and Peter). Peter was badly gassed and died age 34 from complications.
    All 4 are on the monument and were born a stones throw from it at 274 Central. I do have military pictures and I know Fosters Daily did an article on them.

    • Janice Brown says:

      Stephen, if Fosters has a page available to link to, I’d be happy to add that link in my story. Your grandfather and his brothers were real heroes. And yes many returning soldiers died early. A great-uncle of mine died young as a result of being gassed. He had some terrible after-effects.

  4. Karen Babb says:

    My grandfather served as well but do not see his name on the list for Dover. John Keelty. I only see a John Kelly.

    • Janice Brown says:

      After reading your comment, I did a bit of research, and indeed you are correct. A John J. Keelty Jr. served in the U.S. Navy in BOTH World War I and World War II. He was born in 1897 in Dover NH and died in 1990. If you want me to add him to my story, I am hoping you can give me details about where he is buried, and perhaps a photograph. I did find a photo of he and your grandmother when they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, but it is not good enough to use (degraded with the newspaper scan). Please let me know!

  5. Patrick Mone says:

    I have been researching John W Christie who was killed in WWI. I can provide you with a photo of him. He is buried in St. Mary’s New Cemetery in Dover and there is a memorial stone for him located in a median at the intersection of Locust and Central Ave.

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