Dante John Baratelli was born 24 September 1891 at Jersey City New Jersey, son of Angelo & Elisa (Airoli) Baratelli. His parents were both born in Italy and he had siblings Norma D., Charles C. (the sculptor) and John C. From 1910-1912 he was living in Barre, Vermont working as a clerk. He moved to Concord New Hampshire and while living there he joined the U.S. Army.
On 5 June 1917 he completed his WWI Draft Registration form stating he was 25 years old living at 12 Park Street in Concord working as a waiter in a lunch room. He was single, of medium height and weight with blue eyes and brown hair. The Barre (VT) Daily Times of 8 February 1918 tells the following: “News has been received here of the wedding at Ayer, Mass., Feb 1, of Miss Nella Diversi of Concord, N.H., and Private Dante Baratelli of Camp Devens. The bride is a daughter of Henry Diversi, a well known fruit merchant of Concord, and has many friends in Barre. Private Baratelli joined the national army while a resident of Concord, where he was associated with his father in business. He is well remembered in this city, where for a time he was employed in the Diversi fruit store at the corner of Merchant and North Main streets. Mrs. Baratelli is remaining in Concord for a time and her husband has gone south with a detachment of Camp Devens soldiers.”
The Gold Star Record of Massachusetts states that he “entered military service 20 Sept. 1917, Battery C, 303rd Field Arty, 76th Div. He was transferred 2 Feb 1918 to 5th Field Artillery Brigade Leon Springs Texas, then to Battery D, 20th Field Artillery, 5th Division.” The U.S. Army Transport Passenger Lists show that Dante J. Baratelli was aboard the ship Louisville when it left New York City on 14 September 1918 bound for Europe. He was then a Private in an unassigned Casual Company #379. His service # was 1045727.
The history of the ship Louisville, mentions frequently the deaths of both crew and passengers on that trip to Europe, though it states that the numbers were much less than many other ships during the influenza pandemic. It mentions him as Dante “Saratelli,” an obvious misspelling but the same man. The book,Three hundred years of Quincy 1625-1925: historical retrospect: training field and military mentions: “Dante John Baratelli, Bty. D, 20th F.A., 5th Div. Died of pneumonia, at sea, 24 Sep 1918, en route to France.”
Though sometimes it was normal to bury a sailor while out at sea, it appears that the ship was either docked or close to being so on the day that Dante died. The disposition of his remains were mentioned later, with a misspelling of his last name: “The body of John Dante Barretelli (sic) Private, Casual Co. #379, Serial #1045727 was returned to the U.S. on 12 October 1918 at 8:30 A.M. in N.Y. aboard the U.S.N.T. “Louisville” which carried the bodies of several deceased enlisted men aboard.” I could not find a burial for him in Arlington National Cemetery, or anywhere yet. His body possibly was buried either in Concord, or in Quincy Massachusetts (his parents are buried in St. Mary’s Cemetery, West Quincy MA). In the town of Quincy a plot of land, “Dante J. Baratelli Square,” in the vicinity of 118 Marsh Street was named for him prior to 1930, and was still being called that in 1949. It does not seem to exist today.
The Gold Star Record mentions that Dante Baratelli had a daughter Marian who probably was born shortly after his death. In 1920 she was living in Concord New Hampshire with her mother in the home of her Diversi grandparents. Dante’s widow, Nella m2d) 28 April 1920 in Concord NH to Frederick L. Lancisi, son of Ottavio & Adalcisa (Francina) Lancisi. Between 1936-1939 the entire family, including Marian changed her surname to Lancey. Marian Beatrice [Baratelli] Lancey married 8 April 1942 in Concord NH to Earl Edward Miller, son of Randolph & Gertrude (Seamen) Miller. Marion m2d) Alfred Maynard, son of Alfred & Aurora (Brousseau) Maynard. He was born 25 Sep 1923 in Manchester NH and d. 29 August 1984 in York Co. Maine. Marion died 8 April 1974 in Manchester NH.
Dante John Baratelli’s name is listed on the Roll of Honor in Doric Hall of the New Hampshire State house. He is also listed on the bronze plaque in Concord New Hampshire’s Memorial Field, honoring WWI heroes. Let us not forget.
[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].