New Hampshire WWI Military: Heroes of Newport

Stereoscopic Views of Newport, Sullivan County, New Hampshire. John Bachelder photographer. Robert N. Dennis Collection, New York Public Library Digital Collections.

In 1917 the town of Newport New Hampshire had around 4,000 permanent residents.  It was also the county seat for Sullivan County where the County court house was located and business was conducted by the county commissioners.

When the World War was declared in 1917  the citizens were quick to support the war effort.  They not only sent their youth to service, but they had active Red Cross participation and the town enthusiastically supported the War Bond sales.  In July of 1918 the Newport Chapter and her auxiliaries shipped the following articles for Red Cross use: 15 helmets, 3 mufflers, 367 pairs of socks, 53 sweaters, 4 pair wristlets, 36 convalescent robes, 144 women’s and children’s garments.

Group photograph of WWI Veterans from a
1919 Newport NH newspaper.

On the June 5, 1917 the first of three draft registrations was performed, with those who qualified to soon be called for a second examination and induction.  In August the local New Hampshire National Guard was called to service and it was reported in the following newspaper notice. “The Republican Champion, Newport NH, August 2, 1917, page 1. BOYS READY TO SERVE U.S. MANY NEWPORT BOYS IN RANKS. Many Sad Faces Among Large Crowd Gathered to Bid Members of Company M Farewell. Company M under Captain Samuel H. Edes, was called to duty last week Friday, July 27. The boys reported at the armory at an early hour, where arrangements were made to take the 7.43 train to Concord. They were escorted from the armory by the Newport Cadet Band and the Newport Fire Department in uniform to the front of the courthouse, where the boys were addressed by Hon. Olin H. Chase. Following is Mr. Chase’s speech: “Captain Edes and Members of M Company– I saw in the local papers on my return home last night that I was to deliver a “farewell address” to the departing soldiers this morning. I think that feature of your send-off must have been censored either by Creel or Secretary Daniels. I appreciate that you boys will much prefer to spend the remaining time bidding your families and friends goodbye than listening to talk. The time for talk has passed, and the time for action such as you men are taking has arrived. I am acting as spokesman not only for the people of Newport, but for every town represented in this organization. Newport has no desire to monopolize the glory of furnishing this company. I am speaking not only to the members of this company before me, but to all the splendid young fellows who are contributing their services to other military units as well. M. Company has a record such as no other national guard organizations in the state can boast. It came into existence only 19 years ago last January and is now about to enter the United States service for the third time.

1906 Newport NH Train Station. A decade later
young men would leave this station for war

No one can tell what the future has in store for you men, but rest assured that whether fate ordains for you to spend the time of your military service in a peaceful camp at Concord, or on the pleasant hillsides of North Carolina, or in the trench rent fields of Flanders, the prayers and wishes of the people back here at home will follow you. They are proud of you, and expect to bear good reports from your service. The first lesson for a soldier to learn is the lesson of obedience. Military discipline is a succession of subordination–by that, I mean that everybody must obey someone else. The private submits to the orders of the corporal, the corporal must be obedient to the sergeant, the sergeant carries into effect the commands of the lieutenant, and lieutenant obeys the captain, the captain takes his orders from the major, and so on up to the President, who as commander-in-chief of the army and navy is responsible to his flag and to his God. I urge upon you boys to remember this: The first requisite of a good soldier is to be a man, and the first essentials of a man are a sober head and a clean body. I read not long ago an anecdote of a raw recruit who happened to be the proverbial Irishman that says most of the funny things that are said. He was engaged in rifle practice, and when he fired at number three target the marker indicated a hit on No. 4. The recruit’s attention was called to this but the result of his second shot was the same. The range officer spoke to him in a characteristic military tone of voice saying: What kind of a soldier do you think you wil make? He came back with his reply: “Sure I’ll make a foine soldier. When I aim at a private I’ll hit a brigadier gineral.” If one of you boys should aim at an inoffensive German private and through faulty marksmanship should hit the Kaiser, the world will owe you a debt of gratitude. Goodbye and good luck.” A short prayer was then offered by Rev. Fr. Thomas J. Finning, after which the company marched to the station, where the largest crowd ever gathered was assembled. Eyes were filled with tears, and some who would have liked to have said good bye, were unable to speak. Many passed through the lines shaking hands with the boys and wishing them all good luck. Company M. is now stationed at Concord and will later be sent to Charlotte, N.C. Following is the roll of the company when it entrained here. [see list in original newspaper post]

When the war ended, the Republican Champion newspaper of 21 Aug 1919 carried a long list of those who served from each local town, including Newport NH [see list later], and mentioned the casualties from each town. 24 men from Newport New Hampshire were considered casualties, which included wounded in action but survived. Nine young men made the ultimate sacrifice.

Newport NH Veterans’ Monument on the Town
Common. Photograph courtesy of Wayne
McElreavy. Used with permission.

In 1912 a statue and memorial had been placed on the Newport Town Green and dedicated to honor those participants in the Civil War. In 1918 a cast-iron memorial was constructed by the Newport Board of Trade that made mention of all WWI veterans living and dead. This was placed in front of the Grange Hall between December 1918 and March 1918 when the Board was reimbursed for its expenses by the Town of Newport NH.  By 1928 the names on the memorial were repainted. One report says that this memorial was destroyed during the World War 2 when it was donated during an iron scrap drive. The local Argus newspaper of 8 July 1948 reported: “Workmen yesterday began demolition of the foundation of the town’s honor roll, to make room for the new records building. The honor roll is temporarily at the Veterans Club until a suitable spot can be decided on.” [Editor’s note: the newspaper does not state whether this is a WWI or the WWI honor roll]. On November 11, 1989 page one of the Argus-Champion newspaper reported that the Newport Veterans’ Memorial “honoring town citizens who died in the service in the 20th Century” was to be dedicated on Veteran’s day, November 11th. This was placed on the town common where it can be found today.

My personal thanks to the following people who were of great help in writing this story– Mary Lou McGuire and Wayne McElreavy. Their advice and photographs were instrumental in learning about the history of the Veterans’ Memorial. For more information on Newport NH history please contact the Newport Historical Society.


[from the Republican Champion newspaper 21 Aug 1919]
(‘casualties’ including killed, deaths, missing, drowned, wounded, gassed)
Newport 27
Corp. Verne E. Weld, Newport
Pvt. Claude J. Brewster, Newport
Pvt. Alfred S. Flanders, Newport
Pvt. Robert MacInnis, Newport
Pvt. Edward G. Holt, Newport
Pvt. Arthur J. Gillingham, Newport
Pvt. Ivan V. Walker, Newport
Lieut (senior grade) Francis P. Smith, Newport
Pvt. Leon S. Drew, Newport
Pvt. Richard C. White, Newport [originally missing in action,  in September of 1918 “Private Richard C. White, who has been reported as missing in action in France, has been located at base hospital No 23, where he is recovering from a gas attack. ”  In 1927 he was living in Newport NH, a blacksmith.
Pvt. Morris Selman, Newport
Sgt. James M. Wright, Newport
Corp. John Lavigne, Newport [see photo]
Pvt. Harry G. Adams, Newport
Pvt. Nicholas Arsenin, Newport
Pvt. Frank H. Cram, Newport
Pvt. Joseph D. Finnegan, Newport
Pvt. Ivan S. Kukkola (three times), Newport
Pvt. Ralph G. Stockwell, Newport
-WOUNDED (Degree Undetermined)-
Sgt. William H. Hill, Newport
Pvt. Wilford Gonyo, Newport
Pvt. Charles J. Gould, Newport
Corp. Arthur W. Brooks, Newport
Pvt. Harvey Delangis, Newport

—The following were cited for bravery—
Corporal Harold P. Shepard, Newport
Corporal Harold J. Wiggin, Newport

–Names of Men who Served from Newport—
Abott, Mike Bernard
Adams, Harry Grover
Aiken, Charles Francis
Aiken, William Federick
Arsenin, Nicholas Vasileos
Bagley, Harold Allen
Bagley, Jesse Willis
Bartlett, Cleon Edgar
Barton, Levi Milton
Bishop, Floyd Eugene
Blaisdell, Earl Roscoe
Booth, Fred Elmer Jr.
Brennan, Ralph Augustine
Brewster, Claude J.
Brill, Milo Horace
Brooks, Arthur William
Brown, Fred Cleveland
Brown, Harry George
Brown, Harvena Joan
Budnitz, Max Barney
Bull, Robert
Byron, Joseph Francis
Carlow, Maurice
Chase, Earl Herbert
Chase, Lucian George
Chellis, Robert Wilmarth
Clark, Amasa Robert
Clark, Rowland Perry
Clement, George Edward
Clement, Leonard Mason
Clifford, Thomas
Conlon, George Anthony
Conroy, Earl S.
Conroy, George Moth
Corliss, Carl W.
Corliss, Clinton
Cram, Earle Lyman
Cram, Frank H.
Currier, Guy Edwin
Dame, Ralph Leighton
Davis, Bertie Earl
Davis, Fred F.
Davis, George Roscoe
Delangis, Armond Joseph
Delangis, Harvey
DeMarsh, Wilfred Joseph
Dobolak, Ludwik
Donovan, Richard Patrick
Douglass, William Wilford
Drew, Leon S.
Dudley, Leon Freeman
Dunbar, Roy Charles
Dunham, Fred Eugene
Durmis, Angelos Demetrio
Eastman, Lyle B.
Economu, Constitine Zisis
Economu, Stefan Arthur
Edes, Samuel Harcourt
Fairbanks, Harold Gilmore
Finnegan, Joseph Peter
Finnegan, William Henry
Fishman, Louis
Fisk, Dean L.
Flanders, Alfred Silas
Flanders, Ora Frank
Fowler, Jesse Earl
Fuller, Harry Whittemore
Gebo, Constantine
Geoffrion, Armand
Geoffrion, Armand Paul
Geoffrion, George Park
Gillingham, Arthur John
Gillingham, Chester Jordan
Gillingham, Grover
Gillingham, Roy C.
Gonyo, Willford
Gould, Charles James
Grady, Martin Linwood
Greco, Frank
Gregoire, Edmund Edward
Gregoire, Joseph Ezra
Gregoire, Juius
Gruenier, Arthur J.
Hall, Fred Napoleon
Hamilton, Ernest E.
Harvey, Fred Edmond
Henault, Albert Joseph
Henault, George Joseph
Hewey, Harry D.
Hill, William H.
Holt, Edward Grant
Holt, Kenneth C.
Houghton, Roy Alton
Howe, George Rufus
Hoy, William Homer
Hunting, Ronald Walter
Hutchinson, Frank Prentiss
Jamesson, Harold Eugene
Jobes, Abraham Lincoln
Jobes, Charles Lloyd
Johnson, Arvid George
Johnson, Cleon Lloyd
Jordan, Sanford Louis
Katzen, Nick George
Kelton, Edward Launcelot
Kelton, Victor A.
Kibbey, Elmer F.
Kochockos, Panagiotis Demetrios
Koronis, Anactaceos, Stafos
Kikkola, Ivan Stanford
Lapierer, Henry
Lavigne, John B.
Lavigne, Joseph
Levigne, Ulric
Leavitt, Wallace Erwin
Legato, Andrew Coston
LeMay, Delphis
Lewis, George Ira
Lewis, Robert Franklin
Libby, Lester Hobert
Linton, Leon H.
Lord, Frank
Lozier, Carl
Luman, Daniel Jr.
Lynch, Patrick Frank
MacInnis, Robert
Malouin, Leon Frank
Marshall, Lewis
Mason, Chester P.
McCrillis, William Henry
McGuire, James Edward
McLaughlin, Clarence Wellington
Meacham, Chester F.
Mihos, Athos Demetrios
Moran, Joseph Anthony
Moulton, Charles Myron
Murgatroyd, Walter
Murphy, Frank J.
Murphy, George Joseph
Muzzey, Errol Kenneth
Nelson, James William
Nichols, Charles Forest
Nichols, Frank Albert
Norris, William Alonzo
Nourse, Lawrence Gunnison
Osborne, George Avard
Owen, Clifford Eugene
Paquette, Michael Albert
Paquette, William Alfred
Parker, Clesson Merrill
Parker, Elmer Leonard
Patten, Emery Thompson
Pike, William Daniel
Pivin, Adelard Nelson
Pollard, Shirley Everett
Pultar, Julius Fred
Ransom, Harold Leslie
Reed, Harold Elwin
Richardson, Lloyd Durant
Richards, Willard A.
Riley, Leland L.
Ring, George Musgrove
Rowell, Richard Irving
Robinson, Daniel Sommer
Rockwell, Ralph M.
Ryan, Charles H.
St. Francis, William
Samios, Mike
Sand, Martin
Sargent, Hubert Eugene
Seaver, George Eben
Shattuck, Ezra Sibley
Shedd, Robert Albert
Shepard, Harold Prescott
Shepard, Otto Frank
Sholes, Harold Vernie
Sibley, Dean Sheridan
Sibley, Homer Taft
Smith, Francis Parks
Smith, Howard Bruce
Smith, Richard
Spooner, Bert Dayton
Staples, Charles Henry
Stevens, Earle Kelsey
Stewart, Orros
Stockwell, Ralph Gilman
Swanson, Oscar S.
Taylor, George F.
Tegu, John George
Thibodeau, George Frederick
Thompson, Cyrus W.
Thompson, Wesley Clayton
Thorpe, Burton Durrell
Tisdale, Arthur H.
Tobey, Frank Lindley
Town, Asiel James
Vanetis, George John
Trow, Joseph A.
Walker, Charles Henry
Walker, Herbert Anderson
Walker, Ivan Victor
Walker, Roland Elbridge
Webster, Howard George
White, Richard Carl
Whittemore, Frederick A.
Wiggin, Harold J.
Wray, Albert
Wright, Harold Hunter
Wright, James M.
Wright, William Cleveland
Ypsilantis, Nicholas Demetre

Photograph of Edward Grant Holt
in uniform. Courtesy of a cousin.
Used with permission.

Heroes of NEWPORT NH
In Service During WWI

Claude J. Brewster | Private | Killed in Action 20 June 1918 at Rambuccourt, Toul Section, France | 103rd Infantry Regiment, 26th Infantry Division | St. Mihiel American Cemetery, Plot D, Row 29, Grave 3 | Claude J Brewster Post No. 25 American Legion named after him | [1]

Leon S. Drew | Private | Killed in Action 20 July 1918 near Belleau Wood, France  | Co. C, 103rd Infantry | Sheldon Hill Cemetery, Ellenburg Depot NY |  [2]

Alfred S. Flanders| Private | Killed in Action 1 November 1918, Argonne Forest France | Company D, 309th Infantry | North Newport Cemetery, Newport NH | [3]

Arthur J. Gillingham | Private | Died of Disease 1 December 1918, France | 28th Railroad Company |Pleasant Hill Cemetery, Bradford NH | [4]

Edward Grant Holt | Corporal | Died of Wounds (gassed) 3 October 1918, France |Co. M 103rd Infantry | Citation for Bravery | Quechee Cemetery (Riverside), Quechee VT | [5]

Robert MacInnis| Private | Killed in Action  24 Sep 1918 France| Co M., 103rd Infantry Regiment, 26th Infantry Div. | St. Mihiel American Cemetery, France | [6]

 Francis P. Smith | Lieut (senior grade) | Drowned 4 Oct 1918 Ship Collision, 150 miles from Nova Scotia | Engineer, United States Naval Reserve Force, USS Herman Frasch| Tablets of the Missing, Suresnes American Cemetery | [7]

Ivan V. Walker | Private | Died of Disease (pneumonia, influenza) 20 September 1918 Fort Preble, Maine | 8 Company Coast Artillery  | Pine Grove Cemetery, Newport NH | [8]

Verne H. Weld | Corporal | Killed in Action 24 Sep 1918, St. Mihiel France | Co M, 103d Infantry | St. Mihiel American Cemetery, France | American Legion Post named in his honor | Credited to Canaan NH [See STORY and photo] [9]


[1] Claude J. Brewster was born in Chateaugay, NY 2 February 1894,  son of James and Effie (Gobin) Brewster.  During World War I he served as a Private in the U.S. Army, 103rd Infantry Regiment, 26th Infantry Division.  On 27 September 1917 he departed New York City with his regiment bound for Europe aboard the ship Lapland.   Claude J. Brewster was killed in action on 20 June 1918 at Rambuccourt, Toul Section, France.  He is buried at  St. Mihiel American Cemetery, Plot D, Row 29, Grave 3. The Claude J Brewster Post No. 25 American Legion named after him [now the Brewster-Gould-Lee American Legion Post 24].  The NH Argus & Spectator newspaper of  5 July 1918 reported the following: “KILLED IN ACTION. Private Claude J. Brewster Second Newport Boy, Member of Co. M, to Give His Life to “Uncle Sam”. Mrs. Henry Belloir received a telegraph Tuesday from the war department stating that her son, Private Claude J. Brewster, was reported kiled in action June 20, 1918 in France. Private Brewster is the first Newport boy to give up his life on the field of battle. Private Claude J. Brewster was born in Chateaugay, NY February 2, 1894 and was the son of James and Effie Gobin Brewster. His father died when he was a small boy and he came to Newport about twelve years ago with his mother. He was in school for a few years then entered the employ of W.H. McElwain Company where he worked several years. He enlisted in Co. M, 1st N.H. Infty, March 3, 1914 and was a faithful soldier during his term of service.

Photograph of the front line, Bois Brule, Toul
front, from Hume, Frank, “History of the 103rd
infantry” (1919). World War Regimental
Histories. 19.

Always of a cheerful disposition he made many a march more cheerful and the drudgery of camp life pleasanter by his original jokes about the work. When the company went to the Mexican border Private Brewster was one of the first to take the Federal oath. He served with a good record on the border and came home with the regiment. Last summer before the troops were called into action the second time he worked for the Dexter Richards and Son Company and was in their employ until the mobilization when he accompanied the company to Concord and Westfield. He was with the rest of the men, transferred to Co. M, 103d regiment of infantry going to France with the regiment last October. Private Brewster is survived by his step-father, his mother and two sisters, Mrs. Jessie Upham and Mrs. Mina Smith of Fitchburg MA.  A second story appeared on 18 Feb 1921 in the NH Argus and Spectator, page 1: “BREWSTER CASE SETTLED.  A very interesting situation connected with the death in battle of Private Claude J. Brewster of Newport has just been settled. Private Brewster carried $10,000 government insurance and had written to his mother, Mrs. Effie Belloir, that he had named her as beneficiary. When the papers were examined, however, it was found that “Eddie Brewster,” father, was named as beneficiary. As Edward Brewster, the father, had not been heard from for years, and was supposed to be dead, it seemed certain that this entry was an error on the part of the company clerk. All the same it made a difficult case for the war risk insurance bureau, as the man in charge of the funds had no real assurance that “Eddie Brewster, father” wouldn’t pop up after all, and claim the money. The local chapter of the Red Cross, the American Legion and the state representative of the bureau, Capt. Rouse, have all had a hand in the case and have finally secured full recognition of Mrs. Belloir as beneficiary. She has received $1,800 as money due to date. According to the terms of the policy the remainder of the money is due in installments.” His name also appears on the WWI Honor Roll in Doric Hall of the New Hampshire State House.

[2] Leon Silas Drew was born about 1900 in New York State, son of Lucy H. (Drew) Pickle, grandson of Albert F. & Margaret A. (Clark) Drew. In 1910 he was living in Beekmantown, Clinton Co. NY with his mother and step-father (Henry Edward Pickle), aged 3 years. In 1914 when his mother died, he probably was taken in by his aunt, Mary. His uncle George H. Drew’s (died Nov 1912) widow Mary May (Partlow) Drew had m2d) 12 May 1913 at Clinton NY to widower Charles W. Baxter and moved to the Newport NH area [Mary May Partlow Drew Baxter died in 1941 and is buried in Pine Grove Cemetery, Newport NH.] During WWI Leon S. Drew served in the U.S. Army as a Private in Co. C, 103rd Infantry. His Service Number was 67446. At first he was report missing, and then news filtered in that he had been badly wounded by machine gun fire to the chest. The New Hampshire Argus And Spectator (Newport NH) of 29 August 1919 reported the

ON the graves of American soldiers who fell in
Belleau Wood. November 7, 1919. American
Unofficial Collection of World War Photographs
1917-1919, National Archives.

following: “PRIV LEON S. DREW. The Red Cross has sent the following letter concerning Priv. Leon S. Drew. Any further information should be sent to the Argus. We find in our files a letter from you addressed to us under the date of April 15. This does not appear to have been answered. The name of this soldier remains on our files as missing and wounded, degree undetermined. We are giving the following information from returning soldiers. Priv. Byron Kallgren says Private Leon S. Drew was shot in the chest with a machine gun bullet, within five minutes after going over the top. This was just to the right of Belleau Wood, at 3 P.M. on July 20, 1918. I saw him fall and asked if he was hit. He said “in the chest” and handed over his automatic. I do not know what became of him as we had to go on. Priv. Joseph Comumbo, Riley, Me., said: Private Leon S. Drew was killed in front of Belleau Wood, near Torcy by machine gun fire, the same night he was buried with others of the same company. I, with my friend, helped bury him. We went over the top at 2 p.m. on July the day he was killed.” Private Leon S. Drew was considered killed in action on 20 July 1918 near Belleau Wood, France, at the age of 18 years. When the war ended, his family requested that his body be returned home. He came home on 6 August 1921 from Belgium to Hoboken NJ aboard the ship Wheaton. He was buried beside his mother at the Sheldon Hill Cemetery, Ellenburg Depot NY.  His tombstone reads: Tombstone
AE 18 Ys
PRI. CO. C. 102 REG.

DIED OCT 9, 1912
AE 32 Y
His name also appears on the WWI Honor Roll in Doric Hall of the New Hampshire State House.

[3] Alfred Silas Flanders was born 5 November 1886 in Plymouth Vermont (not NH as the newspaper states),  son of Albert Eugene & Verona Ann (Harvey) Flanders. In 1900 he was living in Newport NH with his family and siblings Carrie M. (who married Edward Trudell) Lora Belle (who married George L. Mattison and Grover C. Smith), Anna Idella (who married Charles F. Nichols), Calla L. (who married George F. Haven and Warren C. Demerse), Ellen M. (who married Bert C. Fowler) and Ora Frank.   In June of 1917 Alfred S. Flanders was 30 years old living in Kelleyville, Newport, NH working as a section hand (Trackman) for the B&M Railroad at Kelleyville NH. He was single, tall with medium build, blue eyes and black hair.  He served during WWI as a Private in Co. D of the 309th Infantry, 78th Division. His service number was 1749012.  He departed Brooklyn NY for Europe on the ship Morvada on 20 May 1918 bound for Europe.  He was reported killed in action on 1 November 1918 at the Argonne Forest, France.  The Republican Champion newspaper of Newport NH on December 19, 1918 reported:

WWI Registration card of Frank S. Flanders.

Another Gold Star is added to Newport’s Honor Roll. Alfred Silas Flanders. Although the armistice has been declared, it does not mean that grief and sorrow has departed from our midst, as is evident from the fact that Mrs. Verona Harvey Flanders of Kelleyville received an official telegram from the government in Washington D.C. Wednesday evening, Dec 11, stating that her son, Alfred Silas Flanders had been killed in action in France, Friday, Nov. 1. He was the fourth man from this town to have been killed in action and the seventh one to sacrifice his life in his country’s service. Mr. Flanders was born in this town Nov 5, 1887, the son of Albert and Verona Harvey Flanders. He was called in the selective service on April 26, 1918, when

Photograph of a German concrete Dugout in the
Argonne Forest, from History of the Seventy
-eight division in the world War, 1917-18-19,
page 149. Internet Archive.

he left here for Camp Dix, N.J. He went overseas three weeks after he arrived at Camp Dix, N.J. as a member of Company D, 309th Infantry. He is survived by his mother, six sisters, Mrs. Ida Harvey of Bartonsville VT, Mrs. Carrie Trudell of Ludlow VT, Mrs. Mattison of this town, Mrs. Calla L. Haven, Mrs. Ellen Fowler, and Miss Anna Flanders, and one brother, Ora F. Flanders, all of Kelleyville, the latter of whom is now serving in the coast artillery at Portsmouth. The sympathy of the entire community is extended to the bereaved family as they mourn the loss of their beloved one, who so nobly sacrificed his life in the cause of justice and liberty.”  At first buried near where he fell, when the war ended his body was returned to the United States on 1 August 1921 from Antwerp Belgium to Hoboken NJ aboard the ship Cantigny.  He was reburied with honors in the North Newport Cemetery, Newport NH. His name also appears on the WWI Honor Roll in Doric Hall of the New Hampshire State House.

[4] Arthur John Gillingham was born 20 May 1882 in Concord NH, son of Hiram & Lura (Farmer) Gillingham. On 5 June 1917 when he completed his WWI Draft Registration and he was living on Main Street in Newport NH, working as a chauffeur for Farmer & Nelson. He was single, tall and stout, with black eyes and black hair.  He served during WWI as a Private in the 28th R.R. Company. His service number was 4168155.  He survived most of the war in Europe, but the influenza pandemic was still rampaging through the troops.  The Republican Champion newspaper of Newport NH on 19 December 1918 reported: “THE EIGHTH GOLD STAR is added to Newport’s Honor Roll
by the death of Private Arthur J. Gillingham in France. Word was received here Saturday afternoon at the death of Private Arthur John Gillingham in France Dec. 1, of bronchial pneumonia. He was born in West Concord May 15, 1889, the son of Hiram and

1917 Postcard showing marching soldier-
trainees at Camp Upton.

Lena Farmer Gillingham, and received his education in the schools of Newbury and Bradford. He had been a resident of this town for five years, having come here from Bradford. He was in the employ of Farmer and Nelson as a truck driver at the time when he was called to his country’s service Sept. 5. He went to Camp Upton, Long Island, NY and was stationed there six or seven weeks, when he was sent overseas. He was a member of Claremont Lodge, No 879, B.P.O.E., His parents and one sister Mrs. George Russell of South Newbury, survive him. Thus another one of Newport’s young has made the supreme sacrifice of his life in the services of his country.” When the war ended his remains were returned to the United States, where he was reburied in Pleasant Hill Cemetery, Bradford NH. His name also appears on the WWI Honor Roll in Doric Hall of the New Hampshire State House.

[5] Edward Grant Holt  was born 14 March 1894 at Pomfret VT, son of Charles Sumner & Minnie F. Taylor (Gilbert) Holt. In 1900 he was living in Woodstock, Windsor VT with parents and siblings Gilbert Benjamin, Kenneth G., Sadie I., and Audrey M. In June of 1917 when he completed his WWI Registration he was 23 years old, living in Newport NH, working as a machinist for the National Acme Co. of Windsor VT. He stated he the support of his mother and 7 yr old brother, and was single. He was a Private in the National Guard, Machine Gun Co. for 3 years. He was tall, of medium stature with blue eyes and brown hair.  On 27 September 1917 as a Private in Co. M of the 103rd Infantry he departed with his regiment from New York City, New York to Europe aboard the ship Lapland.  He served with honor and on 9 January 1919 the Republican Champion newspaper reported on his Citation for Bravery. “France, October 16, 1918. General Orders No. 88 Extract. The Division Commander takes great pleasure in citing in orders the following named officers and men who have shown marked gallantry and meritorious service in the capture of Torcy, Belleau, Givry, Boureaches Woods, Rochet Woods, Hill 190, overlooking Chateau Thierry, Etrepilly, Bezuet, Epieds, Trugny and LaFere Woods to the Jaulgonne-Fre-on-Tardenois Road, during the advance of this Division against the enemy from July 18 to 25th, 1918 in the second Battle of the Marne. Corporal Grant Holt, Company M., 103rd Infantry — C.R. Edwards, Major General, Commanding.”  Corporal E. Grant Holt died 3 Oct 1918 from the effects of poison gas.   Two further newspaper reports tell a fuller story.  The New Hampshire Argus & Spectator, Newport NH, 25 October 1918, page 1 reported: “Mrs. Holt received a telegram from the War Department stating that her son, Grant Holt, had been killed in action. Private Holt enlisted in Co M with Capt S.H. Edes in June of 1917. Both these young soldiers were well known in and about Newport and we well liked by all their comrades always ready and willing to do as they were ordered by their superior be it a Corporal or Captain.”  The second report was in the Republican Champion, Newport NH, 23 January 1919, page 4: “My dear Mrs. Holt, October 29, 1918.  You have undoubtedly received by this time the sad news of your son’s death, which occurred in this hospital on October 3, ad 10:30 p.m. He was badly gassed and immediately developed broncho-pneumonia. He was admitted to the hospital on

Ceremonies held in a Hoboken pier for the war
dead in flag-draped caskets, Hoboken, 1921.
Hoboken Historical Museum.

September 29, and was ill only four days. I have talked with the nurse who took care of him and she said that he was very patient and was anxious not to give trouble to anyone. He did not realize how serious his condition was. He spoke once of wanting to see his brother, but talked very little and was unconscious at the end. This is a very fine American hospital and you may be sure that every possible effort was made to save your son’s life. The funeral service was held just at sunset on October 8, and was conducted by the chaplain of the command. It was a very impressive military service. After prayer at the grave, the firing-squad fired three volleys and the bugler sounded “Taps” while all the soldiers present stood at salute in honor of your son. You cannot imagine anything more beautiful and solemn. Of course it is very hard for you have your son laid to rest so far from home, but you could not have chosen a more lovely place, nor a more fitting ceremony. I laid on the flag-draped coffin a gift of flowers from the American Red Cross and little French girls brought bunches of flowers tied with French colors. The American cemetery is on a hillside facing the west, and overlooking the village. The soldiers’ graves are marked with simple crosses bearing their names and they will always be lovingly cared for by the grateful French people, who feel that they owe to the Americans a debt that they can never repay. Your boy rests among comrades who shared his sacrifice, and he sleeps in a friendly land, where even the children bless his memory. Please accept the sympathy of the whole American people, as expressed through the American Red Cross as a representative of which I am writing you these details. Great as your grief is, you have ever reason to feel a solemn pride that you have had a son to give to the cause of freedom–the workd will be a better place because he has lived. Sincerely yours, Mary K. Taylor, Home Communication Service, The American Red Cross.    When the war ended his remains were returned to the United States on 1 May 1921 from Cherbourg, France to Hoboken NJ aboard the ship Wheaton. His service number was 69580. Additional thanks to Wayne McElreavy for providing a copy of Edward Grant Holt’s obituary which revealed his burial location in Quechee Cemetery, (the Riverside section) Quechee Vermont.  [His mother is buried in the same location.]  His name (as Grant Holt) also appears on the WWI Honor Roll in Doric Hall of the New Hampshire State House.

[6] Robert MacInnis was born 5 May 1895 at Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada, son of Hector & Jessie (Beaton) MacInnis. In the 1901 Canadian Census he can be found on Prince Edward Island living with his parents and siblings Richard D., John W., Florie B., Annie L, and Jessie.  He immigrated to the United States on 12 Mar 1913 at the port of Vanceboro, Maine, his U.S. Contact being his brother, John.   In June of 1917 he completed his WWI registration form stating he was living on Page Hill, Newport NH engaged in farming for W.J. Dubois of Newport NH. He was aged 22, single, of medium height and stature with blue eyes and brown hair. During WWI he served in the U.S. Army in Europe, as a Private in the 103rd Infantry Regiment, 26th Infantry Division.   Robert MacInnis was killed in action in France on 24 September 1918.  The local newspaper, New Hampshire Argus & Spectator, Newport NH, on 25 October 1918, page 1 reported: “Killed in Action. Co. M. Boys Give Up Their Lives for the Stars and Stripes. Enlisted in Newport. Well Known Boys of Newport Enlisted in June 1917. Private Robert McGinnis of Brookline, Mass., and for many years employed by Miss Beaty of Newport has been reported as killed in action. He enlisted in Co. M 103rd U.S. Infty at Newport in June 1917, with Capt. S.H. Edes.”   In the newspapers of the time Robert MacInnes was credited to  78 Harvard Street Brookline MA.  He was buried in St. Mihiel American Cemetery, Plot: Plot D Row 25 Grave 4. His name also appears on the WWI Honor Roll in Doric Hall of the New Hampshire State House.

 [7] Francis P. Smith was born in Boston MA 27 June 1890, the son of Frank Hamilton and Leona (Safford)  Smith.  As a child he moved to Newport NH with his parents.  During WWI he was a Lieutenant in the United States Naval Reserve Force, an Engineer aboard the U.S.S. Herman Frasch.  The Republican Champion newspaper,Newport NH on Oct 31, 1918, page 4 printed the following: “Lieutenant Francis P. Smith, U.S.N., who was drowned Oct. 4, when the tank ship, George C. Henry, rammed and sank the freight ship, Herman Frasch  within seven minutes in a storm about 150 miles off the coast of Nova Scotia, was born in Boston June 27, 1890, the son of Frank H. and Leona Safford Smith. He received his education in the schools of Boston and this town. He married Miss Irene Sloate of Scranton, Pa. June 8, 1914. For eleven years he followed the coast-wise sea service from New York to Texas as an engineer, and when the war broke out, he was commissioned a lieutenant, and had made three round trips to France with war materials. On this last fatal trip, Mr. Smith was the chief engineer on the Herman Fresch. A letter to his widow from Lieutenant Thomas Barrie of Brooklyn N.Y., a lieutenant of the junior grade on the same ship, states “that there was no evidence to indicate that Mr. Smith awoke from his sleep” at the time of the collision,

The USS Herman Frasch probably
taken in 1917. An American freighter
lost in a collision with the tanker USS
George G. Henry. U.S. Naval
Historical Center.

which occurred at 12:28 o’clock a.m. Oct 4, causing the death of 27 men out of a crew of 90 men. Capt. T.H. Bicknell, U.S.N. of Baltimore Md who had been associated with Lieutenant Smith, refers to him as the “squarest and whitest shipmate that he had even known.” He was a mason, having been a member of Globe Lodge, No 588, A.F. and A.M. of New York City, and was also a member of the Marine Engineers Association. In religion he was a Congregationalist. His last visit to his home here was made during the summer. He is survived by his father and step mother, Mr. and Mrs. Frank H. Smith of this town, his wife, Mrs. Irene Smith, and his sister Mrs. Charles A. J. Heager of New York City. The sympathy of the entire community is extended to the bereaved ones in the loss of their beloved one, who made the supreme sacrifice in the service of his county.”   A second newspaper notice in The Buffalo Enquirer of 4 Oct 1918, page 1″ “The collision occurred at night 150 miles southeast of Cape Sable. The Frasche went to the bottom in seven minutes. Forty-one members of her crew were picked up by the Henry which stood by throughout the night rescuing survivors. A great hole was stove in the Henry’s bow, the navy department announced, but it was above the water line, and the vessel was able to proceed to port….the Frasch carried thirteen officers and a crew of seventy-six, a total of eight-nine men, navy records showed.”    Lieut. Francis P. Smith’s body was never recovered. His service is recognized on the Tablets of the Missing, Suresnes American Cemetery in France.

[8] Ivan Victor Walker |was born in Newport NH 7 May 1894, the son of Elbridge and Lilian (Leavitt) Walker.  In 1900 he was living in Newport NH with his parents, and siblings, Roland E. & Vernerd L. Walker.  On 5 June 1917 Ivan Victor Walker, aged 23, completed his WWI Registration form. He was living on Oak Street in Newport NH a laborer in the shoe factory of W.H. McElwain Co. He stated he was single, of medium height, stout with dark brown eyes and black hair.  He served during WWI as a Private in the 8th Company Coast Artillery and died of disease (pneumonia from influenza) on 20 September 1918 at Fort Preble Maine. The Republican Champion newspaper of 26 Sep 1918 Newport NH, page 1 reported: “MILITARY FUNERAL. Ivan V. Walker, Resident of This Town. Private Ivan V. Walker, the son of Elbridge Walker, died at Fort Preble, Portland, Maine, Friday, Sept 20, with pneumonia, with which he had been ill only five days. He was born in town May 7, 1894, the son of Elbridge and Lilian Leavitt Walker. He attended the public schools, where he was prominent in baseball and football. At the time that he volunteered to go to Durham about the first of July, he was employed in the shoe factory of the W.H. McElwain Company. After eight weeks of training at Durham, he was transferred to Fort Williams, Maine, and later to Fort Preble, Maine, where he was taken suddenly ill Wednesday, Sept 18. He is survived by his father, two brothers, Private Roland E. Walker who is now in France, and Vernard L. Walker, his grandmothers, Mrs. Rebecca R Walker of Lebanon, a nephew and several cousins, and a step-mother. The remains were brought here Saturday afternoon under military guard. The funeral services were conducted Sunday afternoon at 2 o’clock in the Congregational church, which was well filled with relatives and friends, who had gathered to pay their last tribute to the young man, who had so suddenly been stricken with a fatal disease while in the performance of his duty to his country. A detail from Company I, N.H.S.G., acted as escort, six members of which acted as bearers. Rev. Elwin Hitchcock, D.D. officiated and spoke words of cheer to the bereaved family. Musical selections were rendered by Mrs. Katherine Ide Hall and Clarence D. Mooney. Many beautiful floral tributes testified to the high esteem in which the young man was held by his many friends and relatives. Interment was made in Pine Grove cemetery where the salute was fired by Company I, N.H.S.G. and taps were sounded.”  Ivan Victor Walker is buried in Pine Grove Cemetery, Newport NH. His name also appears on the WWI Honor Roll in Doric Hall of the New Hampshire State House.

[9] Verne Hamblett Weld was born 28 July 1895 in Canaan NH son of Fred C. & Nora G. (Hamblett) Weld. He has siblings Grace, Mildred Irene (who married Philippe Lapierre) and Gerry. He enlisted in the National Guard at Newport New Hampshire in June of 1916 and so is credited to both Newport and Canaan NH. He served in Co. M, 103rd Infantry, 26th Division in Europe. He was promoted to Corporal and was killed in action on 24 September 1918 as the result of being hit by shrapnel. He is buried in St. Mihiel American Cemetery, France. SEE Story on “Heroes of Canaan in WWI” for more photographs and details. His mother traveled to France as part of the Gold Star Mother’s trip [read her story here].  An American Legion Post was named in his honor. His name also appears on the WWI Honor Roll in Doric Hall of the New Hampshire State House.


Harvena J. (Brown) McCann | Nurse | Died 12 June 1922 (of meningitis)  at Carrie Wright Hospital, Newport NH | US Army Reserve | Maple Street Cemetery, Newport NH

Mrs. Angie B. Brown has received word that her daughter, Miss Harvena J. Brown, who has been in the government service as a nurse at Camp Devens Mass for 10 months, has arrived safely overseas. Miss Brown is a graduate of the Peter Bent Brigham hospital of Brookline, Mass, and is a registered nurse in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. –The Republican Champion, Sept 26, 1918.

Harvena Joanna Brown was born 26 May 1893 in Sunapee NH, daughter  of Harvey & Angie B. (Colby) Brown. She married Thomas P. McCann.   She had one sibling, Harvey W. Brown, b 30 March 1898 and d. 19 Sep 1971 in Los Angeles California.   The Find-a-grave site shows this information (based on various documents including her death certificate): “She enlisted 1 Nov 1917 serving as a nurse in Camp Devens MA, discharged 24 Jan 1919. Accidental fall on pavement, striking her back near the lumbar region, eventually leading to spinal meningitis, died 7 June 1922, aged 29.”   She also served in Europe, the U.S. Military Transport Passenger lists showing that in September of 1918 she was part of the Nurses Replacement Draft embarking 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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5 Responses to New Hampshire WWI Military: Heroes of Newport

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

  2. Pingback: Mary K. Taylor, searcher and canteen worker. | American Women in World War I

  3. Jimmy Fleming says:

    Looking for more information on Jesse Willis Bagey.

    • Janice Brown says:

      Jesse Willis Bagley, born 16 March 1900 Montpelier VT, son of George Allen & Nellie S. (Fogg) Bagley. He died 5 July 1967 aged 67.
      He is buried in Pine Grove Cemetery, Newport NH

      He served in both WWI and WWI according to his grave marker. During WWII he served on the U.S. Navy aboard the ship Pasquotank (AOG-18) mustered 11 Nov 1943

      He married Elizabeth Elizabeth S. Shrope. She was b. Phillipsburg NJ.
      In 1936 living in Newport NH. Occupation: R.D. carrier. Their house was at 43A Pearl Street Newport NH. In 1942 mechanic at Newport Motor Co.
      They had at least two children:
      1) Russell Willis Bagley b. Plainfield NH (23)(so b abt 1924)
      who married 6 July 1947 in Newport NH to Marion Agnes Brooks. She b. Newport NH, dau of John E. Brooks & Eva B. Abbott. She a teacher.
      2) Priscilla M. Bagley, b abt 1926 NH

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

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