New Hampshire WWI Military: Heroes of Bethlehem

Old postcard scene of
Bethlehem NH.

Though a small New Hampshire town, Bethlehem sent at least 53 of its young men and women to service during World War I. In addition, those who stayed behind also worked for the war effort as the White Mountain Echo newspaper of the time attests. Bethlehem  NH depended greatly on its summer tourists, and so it was hard hit financially from 1917-1919.

The White Mountain Echo of 13 July 1918 reported the following: “Echoettes.  As per request of the War Industries Board, on account of the shortage of the paper supply, we are discontinuing our colored cover this season and we will use only plain white paper. We are also requested to discontinue all free and sample copies and exchanges, and limit the edition as much as possible to actual cash subscriptions and sales.”

The unsettled condition of the country, owing to the world war, does not presage a record breaking season, but bookings are favorable for an average year, in spite of the high cost of everything. The cold weather of June and early July have been unfavorable for auto parties, but with a few hot days, travel will start up in earnest.

The White Mountain Echo of 27 July 1918 announced: “Karl Abbott, who is in the naval service, was a visitor over Sunday, coming by auto from Intervale. The ladies are all busy knitting socks these days, as the Bethlehem branch of the Red Cross have agreed to deliver 150 pairs during August.    On Sunday afternoon, August 4 at 4:30 o’clock will be held a union patriotic service at the Congregational Church. The Upland Terrace orchestra has kindly consented to furnish music and assist the choir in rending of patriotic hymns…. An offering will be taken for the benefit of “Our Boys At Home.”

WWI Monument in Bethlehem
NH. Photograph courtesy of
Richard S. Marsh on Images of
History. Used with permission.

When the war ended, the town of Bethlehem NH dedicated a memorial to those who went to war. Of these seven men made the supreme sacrifice and would not return–William R. Bishop, George W. Cassidy, Millard F. Clark, James D. Conley, Harold H. Lang, Murray S. Plant, and Verdi E. Whitcomb.  One of the town’s residents, Alice E. Jobin, served as a Red Cross Nurse.

–HONOR ROLL—
1917 HONOR ROLL 1919
DEDICATED TO THE
MEN OF BETHLEHEM
WHO SERVED THEIR COUNTRY
IN THE WORLD WAR
//LEFT COLUMN//
ABBOTT KARL P
ATWOOD RICHARD C
BARNES MERRICK V
BEAN GEORGE L
BISHOP CHARLES A
BISHOP EVERETT C
*BISHOP WILLIAM R
BRIGGS WILBUR
BROOKS EDWARD C
BURROUGHS JOHN M
BURT CHARLES W
CALLENDER B RICHARD
CALLENDER FREDERICK D
CALLENDER JOHN P
*CASSIDY GEORGE W
CHASSE PAUL
CHURCHILL WARREN S
*CLARK MILARD F
*CONLEY JAMES D
CULLEN WILLIAM
DORAN ROBERT
FINN WILLIAM
FITZGERALD FAYETTE W
GANNON WALTER C
GARDNER D HERMIE
GREEN CHARLES E.
// RIGHT COLUMN //
HARRIGAN THOMAS
HILDRETH RALPH B
HILDRETH ROY T
HOWLAND EARL B
HUNTOON ELBRIDGE G
*LANG HAROLD H
LEWIS ROBERT M
MCDONALD JOHN H
MCGREGOR GEORGE G
MILNE ALFRED
MORRIS THOMAS S
PATRICK ELEC
PERKINS MANUS H
PHILLIPS JOHN R
*PLANT MURRAY S
PRESCOTT PAUL L
QUIMBY SMITH A
RAMSEY FRANK H
RAMSEY WALTER L
REYNOLDS STEPHEN J
RESIDE WILLIAM F
SEYMOUR GEORGE W
SONIA GEORGE
TREFETHEN WEBB W
WELLS CARROLL A
*WHITCOMB VERDI E
//BOTTOM//
JOBIN ALICE E RC

Two others served in Europe (they survived the war) and claimed Bethlehem as their hometown though they are not listed on this plaque. Stanley D. McHarg served as a P1c in Co C, 312th Field Signal Battalion, his aunt being Mrs. Charles H. (Mary) Kay. Chauncey S. Wells was a Private in Battery E., 303rd Field Artillery. His mother was Mary H. Wells.

✫★✫★✫★✫★✪🌟✪✫★✫★✫★✫★
Heroes of BETHLEHEM NH
-Died In Service-
✫★✫★✫★✫★✪🌟✪✫★✫★✫★✫★

William R. Bishop | Private | Killed in Action 8 October 1918, France | Co. D, 4th Infantry, 85th Division | Greenwood Cemetery, Littleton NH | Credited to St. Johns, Michigan [1]

George W. Cassidy | Private | Killed in Action 30 October 1917 “in the field” in “France or Belgium” | 72nd Battalion, Canadian Infantry (BC Army Regiment) | Menin Gates (*Ypres) Memorial, Belgium | [2]

Millard C. Clark | Lieutenant | Died of disease (broncho-pneumonia) 29 Sep 1918 Camp Gordon,  Georgia | Medical Corp., U.S. Army physician | Maple Street Cemetery, Bethlehem NH | [3]

James D. Conley | Corporal | Died of Disease (pneumonia from influenza) Camp Devens, Harvard MA  | Co. C, 1st Dev Bn. | Saint James Cemetery, Haverhill MA | [4]

Harold H. Lang | Private | Died of Disease, 4 October 1918, France | Battery “F” 80th Field Artillery | Glenwood Cemetery, Littleton NH | [5]

Murray S. Plant | Sergeant |Killed in Action 3 October 1918, France   | Company B, 23rd Infantry | Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery, France | Credited to New York on tombstone | [6]

Verdi E. Whitcomb | Private | Died of Disease 2 October 1918 Base Hospital, Camp Devens, Harvard MA | Co. C, 212 F.S. Bn | Maple Street Cemetery, Bethlehem NH | [7]

✫★✫★✫★✫★✪🌟✪✫★✫★✫★✫★
B I O G R A P H I E S
✫★✫★✫★✫★✪🌟✪✫★✫★✫★✫★

[1] William Russell Bishop was born 11 October 1892 in Bethlehem NH, son of Edward E. & Carrie M. (Minor) Bishop. He grew up and attended schools in Bethlehem NH and in 1910 was in the US Census living with his parents and siblings Edward H., Harry J., Charles A., and Everett C.  He completed his WWI Registration form on 5 June 1917 at St. John, Clinton, Michigan. He was single, living at 406 E. State Street in St. Johns, and was assistant manager produce house of E.E. Bishop Co. He described himself as tall, of medium build with dark gray eyes and dark brown hair.  His obituary on Findagrave states that he was a graduate of the Littleton NH high school and the Newton Massachusetts Business College. About 1914 he moved with his parents to St. John’s Michigan where he was living at the time of his induction.  On 23 July 1918 he was a Private in Co. F, of the 340th Infantry, departing New York City aboard the ship, Corinthic. His service Number was 2980654. His military records indicate that he served as a Private in Co. D, 4th Infantry, 85th Division [?transfer]. He was killed in action on 8 October 1918.  He was survived by his parents and three brothers Charles (with 72nd Artillery in France) Everett C (in the SAT Dartmouth College Hanover NH) and Harry J. (manager of the E.E. Bishop Co. in Bethlehem NH).  [Read Find-a-grave obituary for more details].   In Septmeber of 1921 his body was shipped from Antwerp, Belgium back to the United States, where he was re-interred in Glenwood Cemetery, Littleton NH.  His service is credited to St. Johns, Michigan.

[2] George Washington Cassidy [Cassiday] was born 10 November 1881 in Bethlehem, Grafton Co. NH, son of Peter & Margaret E. “Maggie” (Harrigan) Cassidy. In 1910 living in Bethlehem NH, aged 18 working as a Section Hand for the RR, with parents and siblings: Patrick John (who m. Catherine Hopkins, died 1942 Whitefield NH), Maud E. (who m. George Prosper Cotnoir and died 1986 in California, and Mary Lena (who m. Herbert Frank Curtis, and d. in 1920 in Littleton NH. [Parents and siblings buried Saint Rose of Lima New Catholic Cemetery in Littleton NH].  During WWI he served as a Private in the 72nd Battalion, Canadian Infantry (BC Army Regiment.  He was killed in action on 30 October 1917 “in the field,” and is buried at Menin Gates (*Ypres) Memorial, Belgium. [SEE LITTLETON NH HONOR ROLL].

[3] Millard Cressy Clark was born 11 March 1892 in Lancaster NH, son of John M. & Emma J. (Smith) Clark.  In the 1900 US Census he was living with his parents in Lancaster NH.  By 1910 he was living in Bethlehem NH, a boarder, working as a drug store clerk.  He graduated from Bethlehem NH High School in 1911. From 1913-1915 he was attending Bates College.  He graduated from Tufts University Medical School, Boston in 1917 as an Allopathic Physician.   He completed his WWI Registration on 2 June 1917 at Boston MA, stating “at present recovering from inguinal hernia operation at Boston City Hospital.” Residence was noted as Bethlehem NH. He notes his occupation as M.D. He was single, 6 feet tall, 185 pounds, with brown eyes, brown hair.  He married Mary Gertrude Clark, daughter of Wallace William & Della (Daley) Clark. She was b. 11 Jan 1892 PA and d. 1950 NH.  They had a child, Millard Smith Clark, born posthumously. [ son, i.e. Millard S. Clark, b 30 April 1919 in Southern Pines NC, d. 31 January 1989 Grafton NH. Dentist (DDS). In 1940 living in Bethlehem NH. He was a Capt in the US Army during WW2. He married Eleanor Jean Bilodeau (1923-1994) and had 4 children.]  Dr. Millard C. Clark served during WWI as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Medical Corp., working as a physician.  He died 29 September 1918 at Camp Gordon, Atlanta, Fulton Co., Georgia from broncho-pneumonia, aged 25 years.  He is buried in Maple Street Cemetery, Bethlehem NH.

Photo of James Daniel
Conley. Courtesy of grand-
nephew Mike McSherry.
Used with his permission.

[4] James Daniel Conley was born 15 December 1890 in Haverhill, MA, son of Thomas P. & Margaret (McAuliffe) Conley. He can be found in the 1900 and 1910 U.S. Census living in Haverhill MA with his parents and siblings: Mary Irmine (who m. George J. Donovan. One of their children Mary Margaret Donovan married John K. McSherry), Helen Margaret (who m. Joseph John Dooley) and Thomas William (who m. Mary Ellen Mitchell). James Daniel Conley completed his WWI Registration form on 5 June 1917 in Hamilton, Ontario Canada at the American Consulate. His home address was the Sinclair Hotel, Bethlehem NH, working as a clerk there for Mr. William McAuliffe. He was single and described himself as being of medium height and stout build, with blue eyes and brown hair.   During WWI he served as a Corporal in Co. C, 1st Dev Bn., stationed at Camp Devens, Harvard MA.  He died 24 September 1918 at Base Hospital, Camp Devens, Harvard MA of broncho-pneumonia from influenza.  He was one of about 81 soldiers who died within a week (this camp alone had 757 deaths total from the disease within a few months times).  He is buried in Saint James Cemetery, Haverhill MA.  His tombstone reads: Corporal, Q.M.C. USA.

[5] Harold Hobson Lang was born 1 May 1899 in (west) Milan, Coos Co. NH, son of Sanford J. & Maud (Wentworth) Lang.  On 22 August 1918 he was serving as a Private in Battery F of the 80th Field Artillery with a service number of 1101688, and was shipped to Europe on the Lenape.  He stated his residence as Bethlehem NH where his parents were then living. The 80th Regiment was part of the National Army as Headquarters, 155th Field Artillery Brigade, and assigned to the 80th Division, organizing  at Camp Lee, Virginia.  Private Harold Lang would be dead less than 2 months later.  By this time the influenza pandemic had traveled to Europe with the American troops.  Harold H. Lang died of pneumonia as the result of influenza on 4 October 1918 in France, at the age of 21 years.  He is buried in Glenwood Cemetery, Littleton NH.

[6] Murray S. “Archie” Plant(e)  was born 10 February 1897 in Bethlehem NH [not 96 like his WWI form shows],  son of Samuel & Mary (Gilbert) Plant(e).  In the 1910 US Census living in Bethlehem with his parents and siblings, Arthur (1892-1953, m. Rose C. Dionne); William (1899-1967, m. Blanche Veronic Gadbois); Clara, m. Charles Joseph Blandin); Helen (b abt 1902); Winthrop (b 1903, m. Addie Sargent); Mary b abt 1908, m. James Brittney; and Maurice (b abt 1909).  He completed his WWI Registration form on 5 June 1917 in Bethlehem NH as Murray S. Plante, aged 21. He was a carpenter working for John Daley, was single, short, of medium build with brown eyes and brown hair.  During WWI he was a Sergeant in the 23rd Infantry, 2nd Division.  He was killed in action on 3 October 1918 in France, and is buried at the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery and Memorial in France.  He is credited to New York [unsure of why].

[7] Verda/Verdi Eugene Whitcomb was born 6 April 1889 in Bethlehem NH, son of Charles L. & Jennie E. (Drury) Whitcomb. In 1910 he was living in Bethlehem NH with his parents and siblings Inez Estella (who m. Clare T. Bodwell), Leona A. (who m. Dennis J. Reardon), and Hattie Evolina (who m. Ira Taylor).  He married 22 Feb 1913 in Salem, Essex Co. MA to Helen Hay, daughter of Charles H. & Nellie M. (Walen) Hay.  He completed his WWI Registration form on 5 June 1917 at Bethlehem NH. He was a carpenter there working for himself. He noted he was widowed with one child, and was of medium height and build with blue eyes and brown hair.  Verdi E. Whitcomb

Camp Devens Base Hospital 1917.

served as a Private in Co. C, 212th F.S. Battalion, and was stationed at Camp Devens MA during the influenza pandemic.  He died on 2 October 1918 in Harvard, Worcester MA, aged 29 at the Base Hospital, Camp Devens, Harvard MA of pneumonia.  He is buried in Maple Street Cemetery, Bethlehem NH.  [His son, Victor Romaine Whitcomb was born 17 December 1913 in Bethlehem NH and was raised by his grandparents and aunt. He married 31 Jan 1936 in Lisbon NH to Ruth Miriam Douglas, daughter of Clarence R. & Hannah (Marshall) Douglas. He served in WWII, and died December 1971 in Grafton NH. He was a druggist clerk, and she was a school teacher.


[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 Bethlehem

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

  2. Amy says:

    Another great post honoring these men who should have lived long lives. So sad.

  3. Yvonne Fournier says:

    Would it be possible or allowable to use any of this in the Newsletter done each month at the Durrell Methodist Church in Bethlehem? I enjoy finding old history of the town and putting in a history page in each months newsletter when I can find some. Thanks in advance for your response on this.

    • Janice Brown says:

      Yvonne, I write these stories so people will read and know about them. As long as my blog Cow Hampshire and myself Janice W. Brown are credited with the story, and there is no direct money made from the newsletter (donations to the church do not count! :D) please reprint and share. [This permission is given to you in this particular instance, and it is not a blanket statement to everyone who reads my blog to do the same.]

  4. Yvonne Fournier says:

    k getting back but a bit Thank You! And as I do add things to the Newsetter I always show and give credit to who and where it came from. Blessings

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