I must admit that the elusive Frank Beggs was one of my more difficult research projects. All I had was a name on the Concord and New Hampshire Rolls of Honor. His name does not appear on the New Hampshire Adjutant General’s List of WWI Casualties. Finally after an exhaustive search I discovered a death certificate. Frank Beggs was born “Francis Beggs” on 19 April 1871 in Concord New Hampshire, son of Irish immigrants Michael Begg & Ann Farley.
In the 1880 Census the family is shown living in Peterborough NH with siblings including Delia, James, Martin, Anna, Malachi, Thomas and Joseph. [Editor’s note: recently I wrote a story about Frank’s niece, Anne Beggs, daughter of his brother Martin Beggs].
The family returned to Concord NH, and Frank spent time in that city with his father working as an iron moulder and corer, as did some of his siblings. It seems as if it was the family talent to work in a iron foundry, for many of the Beggs men followed in the same footsteps. I found a death listing of baby, Pearl Beggs, daughter of Frank Beggs and Elizabeth “Lizzie” Ramsey who died in 1893 aged 4. Possibly the father of the baby is the same Frank Beggs in this story. By 1900 the Concord City Directory announced that Frank had “left the city for other parts.”
By 1910 Frank was single and listed as being in the U.S. Navy assigned to the USS Dixie as an oiler. He listed his age as 30 at this time [he lied about his age, showing himself 9 years younger than he was for whatever reason]. He served during World War I, his last rank being MM1 (Machine Mate 1st Class) in the U.S. Navy. He died on 26 April 1919 in the U.S. Naval Hospital in Portsmouth, Virginia of acute pancreatitis.
His death certificate gives his correct day and month of birth, but as before, a much later birth year than his (9 years). The certificate states he was buried in East Cambridge, but no cemetery is listed.
[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].