New Hampshire WWI Military: Heroes of Westmoreland

Westmoreland NH WWI Honor Roll. Photograph by Richard S. Marsh, used with permission.

When the United States entered the World War (now called WWI), the town of Westmoreland, in Cheshire County, New Hampshire had between 600 and 750 residents.  The town sent its full complement of men to service in the military, with 15 of them recognized on a World War I monument located on the town common near the library and across from the town hall. There were an additional two who claimed a connection with the town.  Out of these seventeen, two would make the ultimate sacrifice–Arthur Louis Sheldon and Ralph Whitten Wheeler.  Westmoreland NH’s WWI memorial is engraved as follows:

1917 WORLD WAR 1919


37-mm gun section of the 2nd Division in action against German Forces. Image courtesy of The National Archives, via American Battle Monuments.


Clyde Rolland Cotton, born 27 December 1896, son of Eli N. & Jennie O. (Bixby) Cotton. He married Mabel Zoay Miles. During WWI he served as a Private, Co. H, 103rd US Infantry. At that time his next of kin was a sister, Mrs. Wiliam F. Hammond, residence E. Westmoreland NH.  He departed NYC bound for Europe on 25 Sep 1917, on the ship Saxonia. He is buried Lower Langdon Cemetery, Sullivan NH

William Guy Dragoon, born 1891 Hinsdale NH, son of Charles E. & Luella A. (Howe) Dragoon. Outgoing departed NYC for Europe on 25 Sep 1917 on ship Saxonia, PVT in Co 5, 103rd Infantry. Incoming: P1c, #68350, Infantry Blois Casual Co #360, residence Westmoreland NH, mother Luella Dragoon. Departing Bordeau France, arriving Hoboken NJ on 16 Feb 1919 ship, Matsonia.

*Made the Ultimate Sacrifice*

Arthur Louis Sheldon was born 28 October 1890 in West Halifax, Windham Co. VT, son of John Ellsworth & Cora Belle (Brown) Sheldon. He had siblings Ruby M., Gertrude Belle “Gertie”, Harley Franklin, Harold Eugene, and Lilia Beth (who m.George Harry Barrett).   Arthur L. Sheldon completed his WWI Registration form in Westmoreland NH. He was at that time working for his father in farming. His description was tall, medium build with gray eyes and dark brown hair.  During WWI he served in Europe in the United States Marine Corps, PFC 45 Co., 5th Regiment 2nd Division USMC.  He was killed in action on 4 October 1918 at Blanc Mont Ridge, France, from machine gun fire.  When the war ended, his body was returned to the United States on 12 Sep 1921, on the ship Cantigny. He is buried in South Village Cemetery, Westmoreland NH.  The Brattleboro Daily Reformer, Brattleboro, Vermont of 14 March 1919 page 5 reported: “KILLED BY MACHINE GUN FIRE. Letter from France Tells How Private Arthur L. Sheldon of Westmoreland, N.H. Met Death. A letter from Lieut. S.H. Bowles of Company L, 3d battalion, 5th regiment of marines, to Lieut. Robert L. Knowlton of Troop I, 2d cavalry, 3rd army corps, a copy of which has been received in Brattleboro, tells of the manner in which Private Arthur L. Sheldon of Company L, 5th U.S. marines, met death in action October 4, 1918. Private Sheldon was a son of Mr. and Mrs. J.E. Sheldon of Westmoreland, N.H. The letter says: “He was killed in the battle of Blanc Mont Ridge  [where over 8,000 were killed or wounded] just three days after he had been promoted to first class private. Private Sheldon was carrying a machine gun and advancing across an open space against German machine gun fire with four other men, three of whom got across.Private Sheldon and another man were killed.”  His name is engraved on the WWI monument in Westmoreland NH, and on the New Hampshire WWI Honor Roll, Doric Hall, New Hampshire State House, Concord.

Ralph Whitten Wheeler was born 24 Dec 1892 in Westmoreland NH, son of Fred M. & Nellie J. (Tyler) Wheeler.  In the 1900 and 1910 U.S. Censuses Ralph is living with his parents in Westmoreland NH, where he grew up and attended school. He had only one sibling, Martha Maria Wheeler.  She m1st) 15 Feb 1910 in Westmoreland NH to Edwin Vincent Burns, son of Thomas B. & Fanny J. (Merrill) Burns. She m2d) 30 Oct 1934 to Thomas Ralph Pickett, son of Lawrence & Julia (Finnagan) Pickett.   Ralph W. Wheeler completed his WWI Registration while residing in Westmoreland NH, a farmer in business for himself. He describes himself as single, short and stout with brown eyes and black hair.  During WWI Ralph W. Wheeler served as a Private in Co. A., 103rd Machine Gun Battalion.  He died on 29 October 1917 in France from pneumonia, secondary to measles.  When the war ended, his body was returned to the United States on the ship, Wheaton, arriving in Hoboken NJ on 2 July 1921.   He was reburied with honors in South Cemetery, Westmoreland NH.

Brief Biographies
men in service, WWI Plaque

Elton Parker Britton, son of Carl D. & Myrtie Belle (Parker) Britton b. 1897, d. 1974. He served in the U.S. Navy, U.S.S. Virginia; buried North Cemetery, Westmoreland NH.

Roy Henry Corey, born 1888, d. 1959, son of Charles & Elvira (Heridon) Corey. He enlisted in the U.S. Army on 25 July 1918, honorably discharged 27 January 1919. Private in Co. H, 74th Infantry, 12th Division. Buried Village Cemetery, Westmoreland NH.

Lyle L. Craig, born 1898, d. 1965, son of Dr. James A. & Emma L. (Dickson) Craig. Served in the NY National Guard until 29 August 1917, then honorably discharged to serve in the regular army at Fort Slocum NY. Assigned to 328th Aero Squadron to 11 Feb 1918; Detached to 328th Aero Squadron Taliaferro Field to 28 May 1918; 79th Aero Squadron (Sq B Taliaferro Field TX. Flying School Taliafero Field TX to discharge. Promoted from Pvt to Corp to Sgt on 17 Dec 1918. Honorably discharged 16 July 1919.

Frank Harrison Gannett, b 1889 Westmoreland Depot NH, d. 1966 West Palm Beach FL, son of Charles B. & Lizza A. (Hill) Gannett. Buried Hillcrest Memorial Park, Palm Beach FL. Wife Bessie P.

Robert E. Knight, born Feb 1897 Westmoreland NH, son of Frank A. & Anna (Atherton) Knight. He m. Clarice E. Hutchins. Buried Brainerd Cemetery, Cranbury NJ.

Raymond Ernest Paine, b. 1895, d. 1971, son of Alexander & Rose Marion (Taft) Paine. Buried Evergreen Cemetery, Winchester NH. Private #2794525, Ambulance Company #302, 301st Sanitary Train, nok mother Rose Paine, residence Westmoreland NH; returning to Boston from St. Nazaire France arriving 13 June 1919 on ship Calamares.

Thornton Hayes Paine, b. 1897, d. 1975, son of Alexander & Rose M. (Taft) Paine. Buried Gline Cemetery, Westmoreland NH; Private, Balloon Detachment No. 2, Aviation Section, Signal Corps. #360,750. Residence Westmoreland NH, father Alexander Paine. Departing from Newport News VA on 22 April 1918 ship Siboney.

Harold Dana Ploof, born 1893, died 1968, son of Oakley H. & Etta (Johnson) Ploof. He married Gladys Leach. U.S. Army during WWI.

Ernest Lyman Richards, b 1891, d. 1960, son of Lyman W. & Mary M. (Lamb) Richards; m1st) 1924 to Louisa Adelaide Ellis-Partridge; m2d) 1949 to Delia E. Farwell. Buried Island Cemetery, Harrisville NH. Private, #2724526, Co. A, 166th Infantry. Residence, Westmoreland NH. Mother, May Richards. Departing Brest France, arriving in Hoboken NJ on 25 April 1919 on ship Leviathan.

Perley Omer Thompson, born 1889, d. 1952, son of Omer G. & Minnie E. (Haskell) Thompson. He m. Lucy L. Baker. Buried East Westmoreland Cemetery, Westmoreland NH.  —Thompson Family

Leon Augustus Torrey, b 1889 VT, d 1950 NY, son of Augustus W. & Carrie M. (Upton) Torrey. He completed his WWI Registration Form while living in Westmoreland NH. He served in the U.S. Army, credited to Vermont, enlisted 28 June 1918, honorable discharged 25 January 1919. Private in Co. C, 42nd Infantry, 12th Div.  Buried Cambridgeport Cemetery, Cambridgeport VT

Charles Sumner Winchester, born 1888, d. 1966, son of Sumner and Abbie (Gassett) Winchester. He married Eva Adelia White. Buried East Westmoreland Cemetery, Westmoreland NH.

Frank Bernard Wyman, born 1895 Grafton VT, d. 1970; son of Comfort & Lyce “Lucy” (Ryder) Wyman. Probably buried Bellows Falls VT.

[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 Westmoreland

  1. Nancy Loe says:

    Excellent research, though I doubt the “Killed by Machine Gun Fire” article was helpful to his family.

    • Janice Brown says:

      Nancy, I admit there are times when I pause and think, “should I really include this bit of info?” For almost very story I write there is 2-3x more information that you won’t see–I’ve screened it out for duplication or inappropriate content. In this case I felt that this story needed to be told in order for everyone to understand what people went through. If you wince sometimes, like I do, then the story is being told truthfully. Enough time has passed so that the family will be removed a generation from him and not take it to heart (I hope). Readers have really surprised me and seem to be happy that I include these details. Just today I discovered a man who was run over by a wagon. Do I share that info?

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

  3. Amy says:

    I would include the details. If it were my relative, I’d want to know. And people need to know the horrors of war. Great research as always, Janice.

  4. Nancy Loe says:

    Wasn’t clear: I was thinking more of the families at the time seeing that in the paper.

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