The WWI soldiers in these biographies were credited to a town in Coos County, New Hampshire. WWI deaths were attributed to a specific town based on a variety of criteria that was not always consistent from town to town. Their attributed location could have been their birth place, or where they married, or where they registered for the World War I Draft. Other reasons were they indicated the town as their last known address, or noted some next of kin or friend living there during wartime.
I’ve made every attempt to identify these heroes of World War I, and have placed some of them in this County Heroes list in order to recognize them. If you find them here, then their name appears on the New Hampshire WWI Honor Roll, in Doric Hall, State House, Concord NH (unless otherwise noted). Let us not forget!
Heroes of COOS COUNTY
(Died in Service)
John Elward Burnette aka John Elwood or John E. Bennett
Attributed to Gorham, Coos Co. NH
John E. Bennett was born 18 August 1893 in Stratford NH, son of James H. & Melvina (Dickey) Bennett, and grandson of Oliver & Melissa (Ford) Bennett. His father died from an unspecified “accident” when he was John was 3 years old, and by the census of 1900 he was living with Stratford NH (in 1910 Northumberland NH) with Louis & Olive Vallee/Valley. In 1910 John’s occupation was livery stable/hostler. [Editor’s note, the 1910 census shows John as a “nephew” though I could not discover any evidence to prove that]. In 1917 John completed his WWI Registration form as follows: ” Living in W. Thornton NH. farm laborer on farm of Langley Fadden, Thornton NH. Single, of medium height and build with light blue eyes and light brown hair.
The Veterans Administration Master Index card shows the following: John Elwood Bennett / aka John E. Burnett / Private, Battery B., 26th Field Artillery / Gorham NH / 3597867 / Died 10/21/18 / Born: 18 August 1893 / Enlisted 6 August 1918 / Disch 21 Oct 1918. Apparently he was initially buried in a Haverhill NH cemetery. In 1923 a request was made to transfer his body to a cemetery in Gorham NH where he now lies. That document provides us with a place of death and a reason. He apparently succumbed to pneumonia, a common result of influenza that so plagued the Army training camps.
Application for Disinterment
John E. Bennett
now lying in Haverhill Cemetery, Haverhill NH
Died 21 Oct 1918
aged 25y 2m 3 day
Born 18 Aug 1893 Stratford NH
male, white, single
Cause of Death: Pneumonia
Place: Camp McClellan, Alabama
Body is to be removed by railroad to Lary Cemetery in Gorham NH
Applications Mrs. Delia D. Nicholson, Gorham NH
Date: Nov 5, 1923.
The inscription on his grave is as follows:
John Elwood Bennett
Batty D 26 Field Art
[He is buried in Lary Cemetery, Gorham Coos Co. NH].
Robert Maxwell Borland
Attributed to Errol, Coos Co. NH
Robert Maxwell Borland was b 26 Sep 1888 at Robinsonville, Restigouche, New Brunswick, Canada, son of James M. & Eliza Jane (McNaughton) Borland. In 1891 he was living in New Brunsick Canada with his parents, and siblings Walter, and Barbara J. (who married Thomas W. Chambers and lived at Presque Isle, Maine). On 5 June 1917 when he completed his WWI Registration form, he was living in Errol NH, working as a river driver for Berlin Mills Co., on the Errol Dam. He was single, and the support of his mother. He described himself as being of medium height and build with blue eyes and brown hair. He noted he was an “alien” and missing fingers on his left hand. Robert M. Borland served during WWI in the U.S. Army, in the 43rd Coast Artillery Regiment. His death notice was delayed, being printed in the newspapers around Christmas of 1918 as killed in action, and attributing him at the time to Stockholm, Maine. Private Robert M. Borland died on 24 Sep 1918 in France and is buried in Plot H Row 6 Grave 14 at the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery and Memorial in France [this link shows a photograph of him, along with a photo of the cross at his grave].
Ernest J. Dupont
Credited to Gorham, Coos Co., NH
Ernest Joseph Dupont was born 22 August 1895 in Gorham NH, son of John & Exilda “Zilda” (Cloutier) Dupont. In the 1900 U.S. Census he is shown living in Gorham NH with his parents and siblings Alphonse T. (who married Marida Bilodeau), Alcie, Marie, Isabelle (who married Leniwood Hodge), and Wilbrod J. He completed his WWI Registration form on 5 June 1917 at Gorham NH. He was working as a laborer in the Berlin Mills Company in Gorham NH, aged 21, single, short with a stout build, with brown eyes and brown hair. During WWI he served as a fireman third class in the United States Navy. He enlisted on 27 June 1917 at Boston MA. He was assigned to the U.S.A.C.T. Ticonderoga. The USS Ticonderoga was a cargo ship and animal transport, attacked by German submarine gunfire in Sept of 1918. Of the 250 men on board, there were only 20 survivors. Ernest Joseph Dupont was among those missing and declared dead. His body was never found. Fireman Third Class Ernest J. Dupont’s name can be found on the Suresnes American Cemetery and Memorial (of the Missing), on the Marine Memorial at Hampton NH, and on the NH WWI Roll of Honor, Doric Hall, State House, Concord NH. The local American Legion (now the Dupont-Holmes American Legion Post 82) was named in his honor. In 2000 the Town of Gorham NH installed a monument, and no doubt his name can be found there too.
Joseph Arthur Guarin/Guerin
Credited to Gorham, Coos Co., NH
Joseph A. Guarin was born on born Jan 24, 1894 at Sainte-Flore, St. Morise, PQ, Canada, probably son of John Baptiste & Mary (Lacombe) Guerin [he is shown as Arthur on the U.S. Census records]. He completed his WWI Draft Registration as Joseph Arthur GUARIN, aged 23, living in Gorham NH. He was employed at Paper Mill Electrician Berlin Mills Co., Gorham NH. He was single, of medium height and stout build with black eyes and black hair. The book, “Officers and Enlisted Men of the United States Who Lost Their Lives During the World War from April 6, 1917 to November 11, 1918,” by US Bureau of Naval Personnel, page 327, contains the following entry: GUARIN, JOSEPH ARTHUR, landsman for electrician, United States Navy. Enlisted: Boston, Mass, March 9, 1918 Died: Naval Hospital, Newport, R.I., June 9k, 1918. Cause: Cerebrospinal fever. Next of kin: Mother, Mary Guarin, Cascade, N.H. He is buried in Holy Family Cemetery, Gorham NH.
Harold W. Gilman
Credited to W. Stewartstown, Coos Co. NH
Harold W. Gilman was born 8 April 1889 in Groton VT, son of Herman A & Abbie L. (Richardson) Gilman. He completed his WWI Registration form while living in W. Stewartstown NH, a hotel proprietor. He was single, tall with a medium build, blue eyes and brown hair. His death certificate states he died 29 April 1918 in Northumberland NH, however it also mentions Groveton Hospital in Groveton. He was an inmate there only 26 hours, his cause of death, accidental fracture of the skull from an automobile accident. The Essex County Herald newspaper of Guildhall VT 3 May 1918 reported: “KILLED IN AUTO SMASH-UP. Harold W. Gilman, Formerly Proprietor of Stewart House is Dead from Injuries Received in Auto Accident Near Groveton, N.H. Harold W. Gilman better know to the traveling public as “Ted” was picked up in an unconscious condition near Groveton, N.H., Sunday morning with his skull crushed and practically very bone in the upper part of the body broken. He was taken to the hospital but his injuries were such that nothing could be done to help his condition and his death occurred Monday morning. Harold was a member of the National army stationed at Camp Devens in the motor truck division. He was the only son of Mr. and Mrs. H.L. Gilman of Lancaster, N.H. and was home on a short furlough. On Sunday evening he attended an entertainment at North Stratford, N.H. and had taken a party of guests to their homes and was on his way back when he in some manner lost control of his machine which struck a railing causing the smash up. “Ted” was well known here where he was clerk and proprietor of the Stewart House for nearly two years. From here he went to West Stewartstown N.H. and was proprietor of the Stewartstown House. He was proprietor of the Fiske House, Whitefield, N.H. when he left for Camp Devens. He was 24 years old April 8 and passed his boyhood days in Groton, VT where the body was taken for burial Wednesday. He was the only child of Mr. and Mrs. H.L. Gilman and their many friends express the deepest sympathy in their great sorrow.” He was buried in Groton Village Cemetery, Groton VT.
William Samuel Holmes
Credited to Gorham, Coos County
William Samuel Holmes was born 20 Sept 1894 in Calina, Kings County, New Brunswick, Canada, son of Samuel Evans & Annetta May “Netta” (Marr) Holmes and grandson of George G. & Mary Holmes. In both the 1901 and 1911 Censuses he is living in Calina, NB Canada with his mother (a widow) and several siblings. By the 1917 WWI Registration, he was living in Gorham, Coos Co., New Hampshire, employed by the Berlin Mills Co. At that time he described himself as being single, short and slender with brown eyes and brown hair. He was still considered an alien at that time (not naturalized). He entered service from New Hampshire in the 54th Artillery, CAC [Coast Artillery Corps]. Various records show him belonging to that group in Batteries A, C, and F. His military service number was 582735. U.S. Military Transport lists show that he departed from Portland Maine, aboard the ship, Canada on 22 March 1918 bound for Europe. [Here is the history of the 54th Artillery CAC]. He would never return. Military records show that he was killed in action on November 8 1918, probably in France where the 54th Artillery was stationed at that time. His body still lies there at Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery in Romagne France, Row 34, Grave 28. The Gorham New Hampshire VFW was named in his honor. His name appears on the Gorham NH WWI Soldier’s Monument, and on the NH Honor Roll, Hall of Flags, New Hampshire State House. [This story was added on 2 July 2020, later than the original posting].
George Henry Wentworth
Credited to Gorham, Coos County
George Henry Wentworth was born born 8 November 1893 in W. Milan NH, son of Porter & Mary Johanna (Hurley) Wentworth. He completed his WWI Registration form noting that he was single, and had served as a Private in the NH National Guard Infantry for 3 years. U.S. Military Transport Passenger Lists show that he had a service number of 388066, and was in the 1st Battery training at Camp Jackson for military service. As part of the replacement draft Private George H. Wentworth was sent to Europe aboard the ship Harrisburg on 22 July 1918 from New York City. He died of disease before 27 December 1918 when notices were placed in newspapers about his death. Though at first probably buried near the battlefield where he fell, his remains were returned to the United States from Antwerp, Belgium on the ship Wheaton, arriving in Hoboken NJ on 2 July 1921. Those transport records show him as a member of Battery B, 121st Field Artillery. His military marker in Holy Family Cemetery, Gorham NH shows:
George H. Wentworth
Died In France
Battery B 121 F.A.
[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].