52 Ancestors Week 21 - Military

+11 votes
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AJC - The Week 21 theme is "Military." Memorial Day is coming up in the US, so this makes a perfect time to write about someone in the family tree who served in the military. Another way to approach this would be to write about someone who didn't serve (but should have) or how a war affected an ancestor's life.

asked in The Tree House by Robynne Lozier G2G6 Pilot (433k points)

Here's mine in the direct line...

Rev. War Patriot ancestors...

1. Jacob Deck  Virginia Continental Line                               
2. Danza Metcalf  North Carolina Militia                                               
3. Alexander Moore  North Carolina Militia                                               
4. Robert Reed   North Carolina Militia                                               
5. Alexander Cathey  North Carolina Line                                     
6. Ambrose Reese Pennsylvania Continental Line                                   
7. John Bradley North Carolina Militia 
8. William Patterson North Carolina Militia  
9. John Moore  North Carolina Militia  Underwood
10. William Ruben Briant/Bryant  North Carolina Continental Line        11. James Dillard South Carolina Militia                       
12. William Reid  Virginia & South Carolina Militia            
13. John Runyon Virginia Continental Line

Loyalist ancestors in the direct line...

*Gaspar Clubb  North Carolina 
*Henry Underwood New York Volunteers

Confederate ancestors in the direct line...

1. Jacob Sidney Underwood 
2. James Benjamin Beaty
3. James Shepherd
4. James B. Dalton
5. Moses Butler
6. George Alexander Neal
7. James Lewis Rodden

WW I...
My grandfather, Ralph Sidney Udnerwood asked for a deferment becaused he was the only son left to take care of his elderly parents.

WW II...

My father, Carl B. Sheppard, served in the US Navy, Air Corp, Pacific.

And there were a host of uncles and cousins and in-laws in each of these various wars.

Pip
So much genealogy, so little time!

My uncle, Abe Lemley, was killed in action on April 10, 1945 in Germany only a few weeks before the war ended.  We still miss him terribly.  His flag and picture on hanging on the wall in my office. So far I have found that six of my 4-greats grandfathers were in the Rev. War.  Someone in my family has been in every U.S. war since then.
That was a loss, John. What was the name of that book, "All Quiet on the Western Front"?, where the guy was killed on the last day of war. All too sad, really. It is a good thing that you honor your uncle's memory, as we should, too.
I served in Desert Shield/Desert Storm (1989-1995) USMC Corp.

my brother, David served in US Navy, 1977-1981 as a nuclear engineer

my dad, Paul Cook, was WWII Army.

my brother-in-law was Vietnam, USMC

My grandpa Bert Cook was WWI Army.

my GGGpa, PJ Cook(Peter Jackson) was in Civil war.

Sam Wall-2509 and Eddie Pike-2301 are first cousins once removed. He died just weeks after landing in Vietnam.

I have multiple someones in almost every war,  many Revolutionary soldiers in various states, war of 1812, The Sioux wars, both sides Union and Confederate, WW1 WW2 Im not sure about Korea, Vienam many, and others since. But the deaths known were few so I will name them.

Civil war Union
Private Nelson Crandall .Minnesota.  Died age 27 of camp epidemic. 2nd tour of duty. No descendents. Brother of my ggramma x 6
Civil war Confederate
Private Aaron Stites Illinois died age 17/18 .died in battle. No descendents.
Within 2 weeks of the notice, his father, Samuel J Stites, age over 40, enlisted. A few months later he died of the camp measles epidemic. In Alexandria VA. Had descendents. My direct line grandfather x6.
Although he did not die in battle our family feels that Private Jimmy Belcher, my step father, died as a result of Vietnam. He was seriously wounded, had terrible Ptsd but managed to get through his tour be honorably discharged but with a heroin habit. He never recovered and committed suicide in 1982.

Unknown rank, unknown last name,  but his picture is a young man in a privates uniform, WW1. His name was Phillip from probably Portland or surrounding area, Oregon, and he was my grampas sisters fiance. She died of pnuemonia a short time later. I remember him here because you all will understand my frustration at not even being able to name him completely.
Currently I have cousins who serve. But closest to me is this, last:

Gunnery Sargeant Chistopher Eastman, EOD, USMC ( Explosive Ordinance Disposal, Marines). He died in 2010 just a couple months before the completion of his 3rd tour of duty. He died in Helmand province, Afganistan. He left an ex military wife, a daughter, and an unborn child ( a daughter).
RIP my Nephew, my sisters son.

24 Answers

+9 votes
I'll Start off.

My Great Uncle Herbert Balfour Thompson was killed in action at the Battle of Passchendaele in Belgium in 1917

https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Thompson-31443

He was the only one of the 4 older sons of my great grandfather John Thompson, who did not come home from the war.

Herbert is buried at the Tyne Cot Memorial in Northern France, not far from the town of Ypres

http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarly/tei-WH1-Otag-t1-body-d2-d1-d2.html

https://www.cwgc.org/find/find-cemeteries-and-memorials/85900/tyne-cot-memorial

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Passchendaele

My grandfather Hedley Roy Thompson also fought in Europe, but he was discharged after being injured at the Battle of Messines, probably in 1917.

https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Thompson-31033
answered by Robynne Lozier G2G6 Pilot (433k points)
edited by Robynne Lozier
Such a common story and very sad. My great uncle who was killed did have a brother who served along with a lot of first cousins. His brother returned with injuries but essentially safe.
My husbands Great Uncle Harry James was also killed at Passchendaele in 1917
+10 votes
This is a tough one. I have someone in pretty much every war except the Mexican-American. My paternal grandmother lost her brother in WWI and I have an uncle and a cousin named after him.

Donald McCallum entered the Canadian Expeditionary Forces on 26 Mar 1915. He was initially a Gunner in the 6th Brigade of the 2nd Division but later moved to the 4th Brigade of the Canadian Field Artillery. While occasionally in the UK, he spent most of his time in France. On 22 Feb 1918, he was awarded the Military Medal for bravery in the field. on 5 Oct 1918, he was wounded and eleven days later he was killed in action. He is buried in Queant Road Cemetery in Buissy, Pas de Calais, France.

More info at https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/313723/mccallum,-/ and http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/military-heritage/first-world-war/personnel-records/Pages/item.aspx?IdNumber=144865
answered by Doug McCallum G2G6 Pilot (214k points)
+9 votes

My dad, James Lewis Atkinson, served as a signalman aboard the USS Custer in the US Navy during World War II.  He also served during the Korean Conflict. https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Atkinson-3466500px-Atkinson-3466.jpg

My grandfather, George Marion Stewart, served in the US Army during WWI, and his son and my uncle, George William Stewart, served in the US Air Force.

I had a number of ancestors who were in the Civil War and an several in the Revolutionary War.  My great great grandfather, William Maldree Atkinson, fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War.  He died in 1864, not from war wounds, but from dysentery. His body never made it home.  His burial place is unknown.

https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Atkinson-1595   Here he is shown with his wife, Ursula Griffith Atkinson.

500px-Atkinson-1595.jpgThe one who intrigues me the most, however, was my 4th great grandfather, Sherod Thompson who fought in the Revolutionary War.  He enlisted in Pittsylvania County, Virginia March 1781 and served six months as a private in Captain John Coleman's Company, Colonel Scott's Virginia Regiment, and was in the battle of Guilford Court House; he again enlisted in 1781 and served three months as a private in Captain Livinful Hill's Virginia Company and was at the Siege of York.

https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Thompson-20614

answered by Carolyn Martin G2G6 Pilot (119k points)
+10 votes

Ah, on whom shall I focus this answer. Not my multiple ancestors who fought in the American Revolution, as they are far enough back that reliable records are hard to come by. I've already mentioned two of my great-grandfathers who fought in the civil war under the post of "Lucky" as they didn't get killed.

I haven't told about my grandfather developing a tracking device for anti-aircraft guns during WWI, which was stolen by the government when he applied for a patent, as I have only his word for it. He was a math professor, and during WWII, he had his best students (pretty much all girls) working computing missile range tables. His son, my uncle, worked on the atomic bomb, and met his wife-to-be at Oak Ridge, Tenn., where she ran the cyclotron. However, I've used my grandfather before in a number of these answers, and my uncle is not an ancestor. So...I have someone new!

I have learned about my father's side of the family much more recently then my mother's side of the family. My mother told stories about her childhood and ancestors, my father didn't. Even when asked. Just said he couldn't remember anything, other than that we might be descended from some Scottish or Irish king, way back when.

I have learned some family history from my father's brother, and his family. My cousin recently e-mailed me a copy of my great grandfather, Wellington Kinne Eggleston's, diary from when he was in the Civil War. (Good timing!) As this arrived quite recently, and I haven't had time to really read it yet, I will probably take most of the week (and maybe longer) to complete this post. Also, W.K.'s profile page needs a lot of work, yet. But that is what this challenge is about: taking the time to find out about our ancestors, and making their profiles presentable.

Eggleston-417-2.jpg

Wellington Kinne Eggleston with son Charles, around 1870.

Wellington Kinne Eggleston (https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Eggleston-417 ) enlisted in the army Feb. 5th, 1864, towards the end of the Civil War. He was in the 1st Iowa Cavalry, Company G. He was in some skirmishes, then in the battle of Camden, Arkansas. Here is an excerpt from his diary:

'April 11th

'The battling started again and continued. The howitzers were brought into action, shelling the grove where the Rebels have taken refuge. “Six pound howitzers, unless more effective than any I have seen, are nothing but a nuisance; as I positively believe I can shoot farther and much more accurately with my carbine, and the ammunition for a single discharge of a howitzer of this size (if I mistake not) costs $10.00 or $15.00.”

'April 12th

'The whole front advanced. It was quite inspiring to view from the top of the bluff, the long lines of infantry and cavalry, three miles wide.

'April 15, 1864

'The Rebels were driven through the town of Camden, Ark. “The secesh families had meat cooked for their boys, when they would fall back into town; but we rushed them through the streets in such case that they had no time to dispose of it; and we saved the ladies the trouble of forwarding it. The Rebs got aboard a boat, in waiting for them, and pushed out before we could come up. I had the honor to be one of the first in town, and the next day General Carr sent his thanks to our battalion for ‘bravery evinced in leading the advance into Camden, facing the danger and driving the enemy from every position taken.’ I may write what transpired from that time, but for now,

'Farewell,

'Wellie'

He wound up after the war on the reconstruction brigade in Texas. He mustered out in Austin, Texas, in 1866.

answered by Alison Gardner G2G6 Mach 2 (25.3k points)
edited by Alison Gardner
+6 votes
I will be happy do this.
answered by Linda Barnett G2G6 Pilot (239k points)
+9 votes
Both of my grandfathers served in World War II.

My paternal grandfather, Marco: https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Ferraiolo-5 and My maternal grandfather, Robert: https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Hamel-730

Marco was a Private in the Army and was in the MAC or Medical Administrative Corps.  I sometimes wonder if that inspired my dad to get into dentistry. I never got the chance to hear any of his war stories or his experiences as he died when I was four.

 Grandpa Hamel had a much more different military experience as he was in the Air Corps, an organization that gave rise to the US Air Force. He served for over twenty years in WWII, Korea and a little bit of Vietnam. That's not all. He would take pictures of the places he traveled to during the war years. Growing up, I saw many of the pictures he took and listened to his stories intently.

When he passed away my aunt put together an album of his pictures and I saw several that I never saw before. Ever. He took pictures of the horrors of war. Especially World War II. I won't go into details. But, you can put two and two together. He never spoke about those pictures and for good reason. She put a notice saying "Caution. Some pictures are graphic."

He loved taking pictures and experienced a lot in his twenty plus year service to the US.

Now aside from that I have over a dozen ancestors who fought in the American revolution and I have two Union soldiers.
answered by Chris Ferraiolo G2G6 Pilot (159k points)
+9 votes

I've got some serious catching up to do! So I'm  going to start with this week and work backwards.

My most notable Military ancestor has got to be James Henry Mitchell Mitchell-16178, following in his father's footsteps, he joined the Royal Artillery and served a long career in the army...with a few blips in his career leading to court martial and demotion, he always built himself back up until he finally retired. However, after spending so many years in the Army, he found it difficult to re-adjust to civilian life and re-enlisted, but was discharged not long after. He again signed up for the Royal Defence Corp for the 1st world war, and was discharged after 2 years in 1918.

He found it hard being out of the army and worried about work and travelled a great distance away from home in search of employment when he was taken ill suddenly and died in Somerset in 1925.

He was obviously well respected in the army and community judging by the turn out at his funeral.

answered by Michelle Wilkes G2G6 Pilot (104k points)
Nice to see you back, Michelle. I have a record of what you have missed, if you need it.
Thanks, but I'll just work backwards until I catch up..I think I got stuck on the homestead one as I couldn't decide on the best one to go with..then I got distracted by something else!
+6 votes

Richard Wilkinson: My maternal Grandfather -1892 at age 17, joined The Essex Regiment and sailed for South Africa to take part in the Second Boer War 1892-1904. Returned home.

Joseph Neil Johnston: My second cousin once removed. Able Seaman in the Royal Canadian Navy in World War II. Served aboard HMCS Skeena lost in a gale off Iceland October 25, 1944. Buried in Iceland. 

Henry Albert Mosson: My Great Uncle - served in World War I Canadian Expeditionary Forces. Returned home.

Kenneth George Mosson: My Father, 2nd Division Gunner, Royal Canadian Artillery World War II. Returned home.

To carry on our traditions of Military Service, I served in the Royal Canadian Navy 1966-1969, a Naval Communicator at CFS Mill Cove.

Currently we have a family member serving in the Royal Canadian Navy.

 

answered by Linda Hockley G2G4 (4.7k points)
+6 votes
My ancestor, John Richard Stewart, https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Stewart-23058,  fought and died in the Civil War. I know very little about him, but I have seen a photo of his tombstone, https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/35809941/richard-stewart. I would greatly appreciate any additional information that anyone is able to dig up. I have seen his name on a birth certificate of his daughter, Pleasant Stewart.
answered by Heather Colley G2G3 (3.7k points)
+6 votes

my great great great grandmother, Sarah Jane Reeves nee Johnson was the sister of Lewis Johnson who died at Alamo

answered by
+6 votes
Noble-2224 is my 5th great-grandfather and was killed at the battle of Saratoga 7 Oct 1777.  This battle was a decisive victory for the Americans & gained us French support.
answered by Kathy Schleicher G2G2 (3k points)
+6 votes
While I have a ton of my own ancestors who fought in various wars - this one got to me. I recently adopted some orphaned profiles and have been slowly researching this family. Private James McHugh was with the 17th Wisconsin Infantry, and died in Mississippi. Several of his brothers were also in that war, but so far as I can tell, he was the only one who never came home. He was not married, and didn't have any children. He is now lying in some unmarked grave, so very far from home. It made me sad and I just want him to be remembered!

https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/McHugh-34
answered by Frances Weidman G2G2 (2k points)
+5 votes

My uncle, Lawrence Clayton Pool, served in the 3rd Army under Patton all the way from D-day until the end. He was a tank commander and had three tanks shot out from underneath him, wounded three times, received the silver star, 2 bronze stars and 3 Purple Hearts. His group was caught behind German lines in the Battle of the Bulge and had to scuttle their tanks and run. He said they waded through waist high snow for many miles to escape being captured or killed. 

 

My husband served in the US Navy during Viet Nam and made three cruises to the coast of South Viet Nam from 1964 to 1967. He was on the USS Princeton LPH-5 for the first cruise and then transferred to the USS Currituck, AV-7, sea plane tender for the other two in 1965 and 1966. 

See his book, More than a Job, An Adventure, at Amazon.com. 

answered by
My father Jack W. Lawrence fought in Italy toward the end of WWII. He was shot at point blank by a young soldier he captured by a bridge they blew up. Luckily the gun was wet and the bullet lodged in the barrel. He enjoyed showing the bullet that almost meant I wouldn't have been born.
+6 votes

I have had ancestors in every U.S. war and conflict from the revolution up to me being in the current one.

 

Recently I have learned how the Civil War affected my GGG Grandfather Abraham Parsons. (https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Parsons-2547) He was not in the military but his family was on both sides of the issue.  I have not discovered any who actually fought on the Union side yet though.  There were some who fled to the Confederate Army rather than be arrested and treated like my Abraham was.  The abuse he received was actually a catalyst for many to join the Confederates.

 

From his bio

 

He was a Democrat and voted for secession in 1861. After war was declared he remained at home and attended to his business, Union neighbors soon reported him as not loyal to the government and a company of soldiers came and destroyed all they could of the mill and carried him to Beverly a prisoner, making him walk the thirty miles while they rode his horses. He was thrown in jail without bed or blankets, and the weather was cold and frosty. He paid a boy 25 cents to carry a note to his cousin, Mary E. Buckley : she came with a blanket and a heavy sheep skin, and a good warm supper. He lay there three weeks and he was carried to Camp Chase, Ohio, a place that was a rival to Andersonville (which has been spoken of so much in history). After three months his son got his release by a petition to the Governor, which had to be signed by all the loyal men. His wife did not recognize him when he returned, he was such a wreck from starvation ; the sheepskin and blanket saved him from great suffering. His health was so impaired he was always a great sufferer after this ; but his brave spirit was not broken. Some time after his riding horse was hitched to the fence at the old home plantation, and a member of the "Swamp Dragons company" thought he would secure a good horse, so he leaped in the saddle and rode away. Parsons seized an old rifle and fired at him ; 'the man soon abandoned the horse and concluded walking was good. No one suffered more losses ; he was continually harassed until the close of the war.

 

Because of all of this, after the war he sold the plantation and moved with 18 of his family members to California where they prospered for many years.

 

answered by Jim Parsons G2G6 Mach 1 (10.4k points)
+3 votes
Besides many Lewis' in the Revolutionary war the one I heard about most was my second cousin once removed. Ray Phillips, died over the Pacific ocean in WW2.  The story has recently been revealed to me by another cousin that he had come back to base from  his mission in the air force.  When they all returned they noticed one plane had not returned.  He (and others I assume) went to look for the lost plane and were shot down over the Pacific Ocean. His name is on the war memorial in Hawaii.
answered by
+3 votes

I have quite a few ancestors who participated in the Revolutionary War, some for the War of 1812, and several in the Civil War. My great grandfather and my husband’s great grandfather fought on opposing sides in the Civil War, and met each other in at least one battle.

For this week, however, I am following the intent of the challenge with a newly created profile. My second cousin Col Robert Donald Taplett is the only ancestor I have found with his own Wikipedia page! He was aboard the U.S.S. Salt Lake City on Dec 7, 1941 just outside Pearl Harbor. In the Korean War, he commanded the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment during the Battle of Chosin Reservoir. He was awarded the Navy Cross, two Silver Stars, the Legion of Merit and a Bronze Star. 

https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Taplett-2

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Taplett

answered by Kay Sands G2G6 Pilot (174k points)
+4 votes

Nobody in my family has seen active duty in a war since the War of 1812! I wanted to highlight people who died serving their country, which is the reason for the Memorial Day. I found a paternal family branch with a strong military background. One ancestor was a hero fighter pilot for the RAF in WWII. His plane was shot down in combat over Belgium.  His father also died in a battle during WWI, when he was 7 months old. Lots of photos, and a link to an old time British Pathe film clip where my ancestor, John Colin Mungo Park is interviewed. I can't seem to post any photos here, but they are in my blog. I am surprised that he doesn't have a page on Wikitree yet, because he is a notable in England. I'll add him later and fill in the blanks of his line.  Here's a link - http://www.libbyonthelabel.ca/2018/05/52-ancestors-week-21-military.html

 

answered by Libby Park G2G6 Mach 1 (12.6k points)
edited by Libby Park
+4 votes

For Week 19 Mother’s Day I had written about my great-grandmother Mary(Yerkes) Wilkinson and a letter her nephew, Charles Cecil Yerkes, had sent to my grandmother Maude (Wilkinson) Perry on 29 October 1918 and included a transcription of the first part of the letter.  But, there is a rest of the story about an aspect of World War I that I had never heard of until I read his letter. 

Charles was writing from France during World War I, but he wasn't a soldier. He was 38 years old at the time and had been working in automobile factories in Michigan prior to this.  His path from Detroit to France is an unknown.

This second part of the letter explains what he is doing there.

“Well Maude I wish you could look in on me this eve.  You would find me seated alone at a rickety old table with 2 candles for light and a fire place for warmth, and the stock of my canteen scattered all around.  The Company to which I am attached have had a rather hard and trying time of it for several weeks and are out now for a short rest.  We came back to a place not far distant from Amiens to a little French village where we took up quarters in a deserted house we took up quarters in any deserted house we could find and there are many such, also many others which are not inhabitable on account of tile roofs being broken.  Today I had a bad turn for a few minutes for 2 families of civilians returned and claimed the house where I had opened my YMCA Canteen, but finally consented to take up quarters temporarily next door until we move away again which will be very soon.  Some of the boys speak French well enough that arrangements were made satisfactorily.  During the few weeks that I have been with this Co. we have moved many times and I have had to sell cigarettes, candy, chewing tobacco, canned fruit, sweet crackers, etc. in everything from a school house to the open air.  Much depended upon the length of our stay.  But I must say that I thoroughly enjoy the work and while I hope the war will soon be over,yet am content to say on here for a year or more if necessary. Have come to know many of the boys quite well, and know all the officers, and can get anything done that I ask.  They are very obliging because they all appreciate the Canteen.  Must close now & hope to hear from you & tell me all about yourself and family.

Sincerely, Chas.

C/O Amer. Y.M.C.A.  A.O.O. 748   France”

Charles applied for a passport (the second page has a picture) and was planning to sail to France in July of 1918 to do YMCA work.  By October he would have been there just a few months.  The “rather hard and trying time of it for several weeks” his Company experienced may be referring to the Battle of Aimens which began 8 August 1918.  Unfortunately, he never mentions which Company he is attached to in the letter. 

He returned to the United States on the ship Haverford leaving Brest, France 19 July arriving 10 August 1919 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania so it appears he did stay on for a year.  It would be interesting to know if his fellow passengers were also returning YMCA workers.

answered by Jill Perry G2G6 Mach 1 (12k points)
+4 votes
The only ancestor I know of that has been in the army during wartime is my grandfather. He served in the dutch army during WW1 in the same unit as all the young man of his village who had to go in the army.. The Netherlands was neutral so he had to guard a camp full of belgium soldiers who had fled to the Netherlands.

A story about that time survived in our family about a rebellion in the camp because there was not enough food. An underofficer "solved" the problem by shooting...... The story didn't say if someone got killed or if it was just a warning shot but the rebellions stopped.
answered by Eef van Hout G2G6 Mach 1 (14.3k points)
+4 votes
The Battle of Kings Mountain (1780) in North Caroline always impressed me due to the participation of so many local militias. Searching my family tree revealed about five kinfolk that fought here. Listed:

Capt. William Terrell Lewis

Capt. Robert Craig

John Sharp Jr.

Obediah  M. Benge and William Lewis Benge (killed)
answered by Mark Anderson G2G2 (2.1k points)

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