|The above photo was provided by K.C. who was researching some members of the 44th Artillery. The caption below the photo reads: "44th Artillery C.A.C. (Regiment) Camp Jackson S.C."|
The 44th Artillery used as its weapon the British 8-inch Howitzer. The 44th was used as Army Artillery and was with the American 1st Army from August 30, 1918-September 16, 1918 during the St. Mihiel Operations and also with the 1st Army from September 26- November 11, 1918 during the Meuse-Argonne Operations. Headquarters Company was attached to the American 2nd Army during Post-Armistice activities from November 12, 1918, -April 15, 1919. The 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 44th Artillery served as IV Corps Artillery at the St. Mihiel front from August 20-September 16, 1918 and also with the IV Corps at the Toul Sector and Thiaucourt Zone September 17-November 16, 1918. The 44th Artillery returned to the States aboard the British ship HMS Cedric on February 5, 1919 to Fort Totten, New York.
|This is a photo that I have in my personal collection. On the wooden sign hung from the tree in the background is painted: 7th Battery Howitzer Regiment. The photo shows the gun crew loading an 8-inch shell into the breech of the gun. The photo was identified on the back as:
"French Official Photo. From Underwood and Underwood, New York.
The first photo recieved of the American Artillery before Metz. In this, a French Official photo, one of the first recieved in this country of the great Metz drive are seen the American Artillery before Metz, this capitol of Alsace, firing into the German lines."
Dated: September, 27, 1918
The 44th Artillery C.A.C. was formed as the First Howitzer Regiment of the 30th Separate Artillery Brigade while in France. In the early part of August 1918, just before the St. Mihiel drive there was a reorganization of the Army Artillery and the 1st Howitzer Regiment became the 44th Artillery, Coast Artillery Corps.
The 3rd Battalion of the 1st Howitzer regiment became the Second Battalion, 44th Artillery C.A.C. and has the honor of firing the first American gun on German territory. It was on May 3, 1918, that what was then known as the 5th Battery of the 1st Howitzer Regiment, commanded by Captain R. A. Linton sent its first 8-inch howitzer shell into the German lines. The location was near the village of Thann, opposite Mulhouse, Germany.
March 30, 1918 was the date that the 3rd Battalion, 1st Howitzer Regiment was formed at Haussimont, France from Batteries "I" and "K" of the 51st Artillery. Captain J. B. Wogan was Battalion Commander and Captains R. A. Linton and W. B. Champion as Battery Commanders. The 3rd Battalion, 1st Howitzer Regiment later became 2nd Battalion, 44th Artillery, C.A.C. After some brief training the 3rd Battalion left for the front on April 11, 1918 heading for Belfort in the Alsace. It was in this relative "Quiet Sector" that the Battalion started shooting up the Germans.
They remained at this front until the middle of August, staging the little nightly shoots and occasional daylight firings that were reminders to Fritz that, although the sector was quiet, the war was still on. During this time it is to be noted that very few changes of Battery positions were made, guns remaining in one emplacement for several months at a time. One of the officers who joined the battalion here tells of the beautiful country in which the guns were located. When he reported, the battalion headquarters were at Soppe-le-Haut. His Battery was located at Rammersmatt, way up in the mountains near Thann, overlooking Mulhouse, Germany. It had been in position at Willer, just over the mountains for about a month, and then moved here, where it was located from the first of June to the last of July. From the Battery position and from the observation stations, one could see for miles into Germany. There was nothing down in the valley, but on the opposite mountains were located the German batteries, possessing the same remarkable advantages for observation. Needless to say, the deadly fire, which could have been adjusted on any troops trying to cross the valley, had dissuaded both sides from attempting any offensive warfare, and things remained quiet.
It was here that an excellent sample of the gentlemanly warfare waged by both sides was displayed. One day one of the batteries moved into a new position and opened up with a registration shoot. They were firing from map ranges and deflections, and with a fresh lot of power. The first three shots were reported lost by the observers. Following several drops in range, a shot was finally picked up, about 1 km over. It was discovered that the first three shots had landed in a small German village, back of the lines. We had violated the customs of the locality.
The very next day, at exactly the same hour, Fritz sent over three shots into a town behind our lines. Things were then considered square.
|Another of my personal photo collection. This was a photo that my grandfather , Cpl. Edington had in his collection. It is unidentified but it is of an 8-inch Howitzer gun crew. This would be a typical view of a gun and its crew of the 44th Artillery. It shows the camoflague of the gun and note the third man from the left, he is wearing his gas mask.|
While at Rammersmatt Battery "C" sustained its first casualty on June 27, 1918, Sergeant Ralph Barker was killed by enemy shellfire while on duty at the gun position. Sergeant Barker was buried with full military honors at St. Amarin, Alsace, June 28th, 1918.
After remaining in one position until the last of July, a move was made to new locations near Haggenbach, farther south, in the vicinity of Altkirch. These positions were kept for but a week, and then the battalion entrained for Toul and selected emplacements and installed the guns for the St. Mihiel drive.
It might be well to note here that in the early part of August 1918, Major John B. Wogan was relieved by Captain Robert N. Campbell. There was a reorganization of the regiments of Army Artillery. First Howitzer Regiment became the 44th Artillery, C.A.C., and the old Third Battalion now became the Second Battalion, 44th Artillery.
No quiet around Toul, things were busy all the time. One of the officers of the battalion describes a typical night up there, showing some of the close ones that the Germans sent over. He relates:
"I was in the battalion commanders station one night when Fritz was quite noisy, showing us by zone fire at very regular intervals. We opened fire in return, and had fired about two rounds per gun, when I heard the most frantic call over the telephone."
"I answered, this is Battalion command, what in the Sam Hill do you what?"
"Shell fire in number one emplacement!"
The man at the telephone evidently turned to find out if anyone was hurt, and I heard someone shout, "H'll no!"
I asked, "What was it, gas or high explosive?"
"It was a dud, sir."
The shell had dropped about five feet from the edge of the emplacement but fortunately had failed to explode. It had landed, however, with a loud thud, which had caused considerable commotion.
Later there was another crash, and I got another frantic call from someone else.
"B. C." "Shell just outside of number two emplacement."
"Was it gas or high explosives?"
"High explosive, sir."
I went down to the emplacement, and found that the shell had fallen about 15 ft. away from the gun crew, just 5 ft. behind the piles of projectiles.
In spite of the closeness of these shots, the Battery did not change its location, but continued itÕs firing, and was never shelled out.
During the heavy firing at St. Mihiel, the 3rd Battalion fired steadily at a high rate of speed, for seven and a half hours, at which time they received the report that the enemy, moving swiftly to the rear, was out of range. They then went into position between Bouillionville and Thiaucourt and held this position up to the signing of the Armistice.
It was just after the St. Mihiel drive that the 3rd Battalion acquired its Austrian Guns. In October, the 44th Regiment came under the command of Colonel Albert Louis Rhoades, C. A., the famous ballistician and raconteur. The Colonel called all the officers of the battalion together and explained to them his "Gypsy Gun" tactics. Each Battery was to have one roving, or "Gypsy Gun". This gun would fire from first one emplacement, and then another, keeping up its fire and keeping the Huns guessing as to its whereabouts.
Shortly after this, Captain R. A. Linton went out on one of his little expeditions to look over the surrounding country. While prowling around about 100 meters back of the front lines, at the scene of the heavy fighting at St. Mihiel, the captain came upon two enemy guns. They were 100 mm Austrian Howitzers, and had evidently been left very suddenly. The sights were intact, the breech mechanisms were perfect, and the bores almost new.
"Well I'll be damned if here aren't our gypsy guns", said the captain.
The lightness and mobility of these Guns struck the captain at once. Here were two ideal "Gypsy Gun's" for the battalion. It was not long until they had been hauled back out of danger. The problem now presented was an ideal one for a student of ballistics. No doubt many Coast Artillery Officers recall examinations in which one of the problems read; "You have secured a captured German gun. Nothing is known as to its ballistic properties or range. Required: range tables."
The problem has dumbfounded many a flourishing Officer.
"Let's cock her up a bit and see how far she shoots", suggested one officer.
In order for these guns to be of any real use, they had to have proper range tables. Once equipped with a range tables, and with ammunition, they would be as valuable as any guns which had cost Uncle Sam thousands of dollars, and loads of work on the part of hundreds of men in foundries, railroad yards, and on ships.
Who was to do it? None of the battalion officers would claim the ability to produce range tables for this gun. The matter soon came to the ears of the Colonel of the 44th Artillery. Ah! Now he realized that his seven years service on the Artillery Board at Fort Monroe had not been in vain! There was joy in his heart. His usually sunny countenance shone like a new sixty-inch searchlights. Although others would have thrown up their hands at the thought of such a task, Colonel Rhoades pitched in. Officers of the battalion gave a description of him, down in his dugout, amid piles of papers, log books, ballistic tables, and slide rules, busily solving the problem. Colonel Rhoades and Lieutenant Cahill worked steadily for hours and at last the stupendous task was accomplished. The Lieutenant nearly died, on the other hand the Colonel prospered, as he never had before.
The range table gave data for five charges of power, and for three kinds of projectiles. Gunnery experts can appreciate the scope of such a task. Now all was ready to accept that there was no ammunition.
Then followed a wild scouring of the country for 100 mm ammunition. There were piles of enemy ammunition all around, but no 100 mm stuff. It was not until long and tiresome searches, some of them under fire, had proven fruitless, that luck was with the battalion. In an obscure ammunition dump, a thousand rounds of the treasured ammunition, both power and projectiles, was found. The searching party hurried in to report their luck to the Colonel, and the guns were soon ready for action.
The guns were then formed into a Battery manned by the prize "Rough Necks" of the Second Battalion under the command of Lt. Cahill, and were known from then on as "Battery Cahill".
For the attack of the 28th Division of the 7th of November, 1918, the Battery was organized with motor trucks ready to follow the Infantry throughout the enemies lines had the attack been successful. But Fritz was too strong at this place as he had organized a heavy concrete defense strongly manned and more Artillery preparation was needed. The Armistice found this preparation in the process of being done to the extent that the 44th Artillery and the various Boche and American guns attached to it fired about 6,000 rounds during the last 48 hours of the war.
These captured Guns proved real finds, and did some wonderful shooting up to the end of the fighting in November.
It is here that Battery "C" lost most of its officers. Lt. Allen P. Francis who served with Battery during its whole period on the front, commanded the Battery the last 24 hours of the war, and was obliged to direct, unassisted, the shooting during the whole of this time. Without sleep for 36 hours, and little to eat except what he could snatch in between corrections of shots, he enjoyed to the full the life of a Battery Commander. The cause for all this was that on November 10th, the Battery Commander, 1st Lt. Robert Mochrie, and the other of the three Battery officers, 2nd Lt. William J. Lueck, were captured by the Enemy near Zames. Full particulars of their capture and experiences are not yet available, but we hope to have them soon.
As yet, our only figures show that over 1,200 rounds per gun were fired by the Battalion during the war. The exact figures were only up to October 26th, at which time the toll had reached 1,000 per gun. It is believed that the Second Battalion of the 44th Artillery has the best record of any organization of Heavy Artillery for the greatest number of rounds fired during the war.
[Part of the above was reprinted from the February 15, 1919 issue of the Liaison, the Official Newsletter of the Coast Artillery Corps.]
Chesley C. Smith of Haiford, Florida enlisted into the Regular Army at Columbus Barracks, Ohio at the age 16 on the 19 of August 1916. His service number was 253949 and was in the 6th Company C.A.C., Coast Defenses of Eastern New York. On Jan 10, 1918 he was transferred to a MTC Detail until April 24, 1918 when he was transferred to Battery B, 44th Artillery, C.A.C. On May 28, 1919 he was transferred to Battery A, 44th Artillery, C.A.C. He was promoted to Bugler May 1, 1917, Private on January 10, 1918 and made Wagoner on August 1, 1919. Pvt. Smith sailed on January 13, 1918 with the Auto Repair Detachment, C.A.C. with 2 Officers and 93 enlisted men on the USS Agamemmon for duty in France. Wagoner Smith returned to the States with the 44th Artillery aboard the S.S. Cedric on February 5, 1919. He went to Ft. Totten, NY with the 44th Artillery and remained there until he deserted at Ft. Totten on 22 September 1919.
Grafton L. Mouen was born about June of 1893 in Maumee, Ohio. On December 15, 1917 Mouen enlisted into the Regular Army at the Columbus Barracks in Columbus, Ohio. On June 28, 1918 twelve ships sailed for France. Aboard one of these ships was Pvt. Mouen sailing likely as a casual or in a replacement draft detail. Once in France he was assigned to Battery A of the 44th Artillery, CAC and served in the Champagne-Marne and in the Defensive Sector. Pvt. Mouen returned to the States with the 44th aboard the HMS Cedric on February 4, 1919. He was Hororably discharged on February 20, 1919.
Robert J. Grant was born on May 28, 1898 and entered the Army in New York. He was first in the 114th Company, Coast Artillery Corps stationed at Fort Wadsworth, New York. Pvt. Grant likely entered into the Army before April of 1917 and the 114th Company was formed into battery E of the 8th Provisional Regiment, CAC. This would have made Pvt Grant to be one of the first three Artillery Regiments sent to France. Through several artillery re-organizations while in France Pvt. Grant found himself in Battery A of the newly formed 44th Artillery. He returned to the States with the 44th Artillery and lived the rest of his life in New York. On February 28, 1986 Robert J. Grant passed away and today lies burried in Section 2N, Site 4047 of the Long Island National Cemetery.
In January of 2017 a Vietnam veteran by the name of Blaine Holden contacted me about a brother veteran who served in WWI, who, in the words of Holden, ÒHad adopted a WWI VeteranÓ who was buried in the Indianlan Cemetery. The cemetery is located in Walnutport, Northampton County, Pennsylvania, located on the eastern side of the State not far from Allentown.
Blaine Holden had sent a photo of this soldierÕs gravestone he had adopted, and I noticed that on the top of the stone there were 3 pennies placed atop of the stone. This is a tradition that dates back many years, and in America it seemed to begin with the Vietnam Veterans who would leave coins on gravestones. This was thought to have begun due to the political divide in the country at the time over the Vietnam War. But the Vietnam Vets saw this as a practical way to let the family know that a fellow soldier had visited the grave rather than coming to see the family in person and bringing up unwanted feelings between the veteran and the family. It was also thought that leaving the coins was a way to make a down payment to the fallen soldier, by the visiting veteran, for buying them a beer or playing a hand of cards when one day the living veteran would finally be reunited with the fallen veteran. But this tradition of leaving coins on the gravestones of fallen veterans can be traced back to the Roman Empire.
A penny left on the grave meant that a fellow veteran had come to visit and payed his respects. A nickel meant that the fallen veteran and the visiting veteran had when through basic training together. A dime meant they had served together in the same unit or ship, and if a quarter was left that meant that the visiting veteran was present when the fallen veteran had died.
Blaine Holden was asking me about who this veteran from WWI was, and to honor both brother Veterans Blain Holden a Vietnam Veteran, and George F. Stever, Wagoner, Battery A of the 44th Artillery, C.A.C., this is the story of the man who lies under this grave stone that Holden had placed the 3 pennies upon.
Wagoner, George F. Stever gravestone
George Franklin Stever was born on February 20, 1892 to Elizabeth J. Owens Stever (1860-1937), and Franklin P. Stever (1859-1940), in Indianland, Pennsylvania. GeorgeÕs father, Franklin, worked as a section boss for the railroad, likely the Lehigh Valley Railroad when George was very young. The family in June of 1900 lived in Lehigh Township, Northampton County, Pennsylvania, and consisted of Franklin and Elizabeth and their six children, Newberg, Horace, Mable, George and Charles. By the time George was 18-years old he was then working with his father as a laborer for the railroad and may have been on the same track gang as his father.
By the Spring of 1917 George F. Stever was a single man of 25-years and was working as a trainman for the Lehigh Valley Railroad. George was a medium built man with brown eyes and dark hair. George may have felt that the war, then raging in Europe, had nothing to do with a boy from Pennsylvania, but then in April of 1917 America joined that war in Europe. George Stever who was then living on his own at 359 N. Front St. in Lehighton, PA, registered for the Federal Draft on June 4, 1917 in Lehighton, Carbon County, Pennsylvania.
The army was expanding rapidly and needed qualified men to do various jobs in the army. Skills was what the army was looking for and George had skills they needed. George entered the army on November 1, 1917 at Mauch Chunk, Pennsylvania, and was sent to Camp Meade, Maryland serving as a Private in Battery E of the 311th Field Artillery.
Private Stever would serve with Battery E until February 23, 1918 when he was selected as a replacement soldier from the ranks of the Field Artillery at Camp Meade to be sent to France. It is known that Pvt. Stever sailed for France on March 14, 1918, and in checking the list of ships sailing by date, there were 7 troopships sailing on March 14. They were the Pocahontas, Henry R. Mallory, La Touraine, Aeolus, Matsonia, Orduna, and Kentuckian. The most likely ship he would have sailed aboard would be the USS Pocahontas, among the 120 Field Artillery Replacement troops she had aboard for that trip.
Once in France Pvt. Stever was sent directly to the Tractor Artillery School at Seine-et-Oise, France. There Stever would learn how to handle the various pieces of equipment the army was using to haul the artillery guns. These would have been FWD and White trucks, and Holt track driven tractors. On May 3, 1918, Pvt. Stever graduated from the school, and was assigned to Battery C, 54th Artillery, Coast Artillery Corps. This unit was then serving as a replacement battalion for the Coast Artillery units on the firing line at the front. The regiment was a fully trained and functioning unit but saw no service at the front. The 54th was used so that when a unit at the line needed a replacement man they would be pulled from the 54th and that man would be fully trained and know his job when he arrived at the front, thereby not hindering the performance of his new unit.
The artillery guns Stever would be hauling would be of 6-inches and larger caliber as this was the heavy artillery used to support operations of the Army Corps at the front, and they were not part of the combat infantry units but Corps Artillery. Stever was with the 54th Artillery, C.A.C. until May 26 when he was assigned to Battery A, 44th Artillery, C.A.C. then stationed at the Railway Artillery base located at Haussimont, France. The 44th Artillery used as its weapon the British 8-inch Howitzer, and was hauled by the 120-H.P. Holt tractors.
While with the 44th Artillery George Stever saw action on the front in combat at Foret De Povenil, Maxville, Gizancourt, Meurthf, Meuse-Argonne, Laval, Foret de Pyramid, Champagne, Bois Chanot, Thiacourt, and Bois Bency. As a Private during the war Stever was likely an assistant to the Wagoner, or driver of the tractor, and Stever was not promoted to Wagoner until November 29, 1918 after the war had ended.
Once the war ended American units returned to the States, and Wagoner Stever would return with the 44th Artillery, C.A.C. aboard the British ship RMS Cedric, landing in the states on February 5, 1919. The 44th Artillery was sent to Fort Totten, NY for demobilization where the Regular Army men would be reassigned and the drafted men discharged. Wagoner George F. Stever Service No. 2310155 was Honorably Discharged from the Army on February 13, 1919 at Fort Schuyler, New York.
George Stever returned to Carbon County, Pennsylvania and took his old job back working for the Lehigh Valley Railroad. By January of 1920 he was living as a boarder in the home of Edwin and Mary Getz in Lehighton, PA. Edwin Getz ran a hotel and his eldest son Clarence also worked for the L. V. Railroad, likely with George Stever. At the Getz Hotel, there were 9 boarders listed as living there on the 1920 Federal Census. Eight of the nine boarders worked for the Lehigh Valley Railroad, the only hold out was George Stuber, a 55-year old widower who was a barber.
A curious note to the 1920 Federal Census was that George Stever was marked as being married but there was no wife listed as living in the Getz Hotel. On the 1930 Federal Census George Stever is married and it shows that he was married at age 26 which would have been in 1918, but he was in France in the Army during that time. It is known that later in life George was married and her name was Cleva Agnes Weaver, she being about the same age as George. Cleva like George was born in Pennsylvania. So, in the end it can be concluded that the notation on the 1920 Federal Census form must be wrong about George being married, at least in January of 1920 when the census was taken.
By the spring of 1930 George and Cleva were living in a rented apartment located at 424 North Third Street in Lehighton, PA. George at the time had quit the railroad and had purchased a grocery store, which he was running. The apartment on North Third Street may have been above the grocery store. George and Cleva would live and run the grocery store on Third Street in Lehighton for many years and were there past 1942. During WWI in April of 1942 George Stever again for the second time in his life registered for the Federal Draft. He listed his address at 424 N. Third Street and was a self-employed grocer. On the back of the 1942 Draft Card George was described as 5-feet, 8-inches tall, weighing 150 pounds with Brown eyes and Brown hair, and was of dark complexion.
It is believed that George and Cleva had only one child, but that un-named child was born and died in 1921, and may have been a stillborn. There is a stone next to George and ClevaÕs stone indicating such. At the time of GeorgeÕs death on September 10, 1958, they were still living on North Third Street in Lehighton, PA. George had lived with diabetes for the last 15-years of his life and on the day of his death had suffered from a heart attack for 7-hours before his death. George Franklin Stever was buried in St. PaulÕs Cemetery in Indianland, Pennsylvania.
Eugene Bernard Ross, was born in Portland, Maine in 1894 and served in World War One. Ross was a private in the 44th Artillery CAC, Battery D. He served in four Offensives in France.
1.) Offensive at Willer, Alsace. May 31st to June 29th 1918
2.) Offensive at Deiffmotten, Alsace. June 29th to August 22nd 1918
3.) Offensive at Barnecourt, Lorraine (St. Mihiel salient) Sept. 1st to Sept.15th 1918
4.) Offensive at Boullionville, Lorraine Sept. 15th to November 11th 1918
Born on May 24, 1894 in New York City to Robert F. and Emily R. Mochrie, young Robert Mochrie grew up in New York City. In the spring of 1910 the Mochrie family lived on West 112th Street in the Borough of Manhattan. RobertÕs father was working as a sanitary inspector possibly for the city or a private plumber. The father, Robert F. Mochrie was born in Scotland about 1865 and had come to America in 1870. At the age of 29 he married Emily R. Lumsden who had been born in New York about 1866 of Scottish and German parents.
There in the home on West 112th Street lived Robert and Emily with their one and only son Robert. Also in the home lived EmilyÕs father William Lumsden (b. abt. 1842 Scotland) who was widowed and was then working as a carpenter. William Lumsden had come from Scotland to America about 1864.
As the years passed and young Robert Mochrie grew into a young man he became a leader and as such entered into the army as an officer. 1st Lt. Mochrie served as a Battery Commander in the Second Battalion of the 44th Artillery, C.A.C. during the First World War. On the day before the war ended the Germans took Mochrie and two other battery officersÕ as prisoner. On November 10, 1918 MochrieÕs Battery was in action and was overran by the HunÕs and the battery officers were captured. Nothing more is known about the capture of the officers but Mochrie would survive his capture and was returned likely the next day on the 11th of November.
Once Mochrie returned from France he returned to New York City and lived again with his parents, Robert F. and Emily. At the beginning of 1920 the MochrieÕs lived in the Bronx. The home was owned by Robert F. and was located at 409 West 261st in the Riverdale area near the corner of W. 261st and Tyndall Ave. Robert Mochrie was by now a 25-year old man and was single. It was unclear what his job was at the time.
About 1927 Robert had married a woman named Mary. She was born about 1902 in New York and was the daughter of Polish immigrants. Robert and Mary in the spring of 1930 were living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The couple rented an apartment in the Waynewood Hall Apartment building where the rent was $95 per month. Robert was working as a general manager in the motion picture industry. Robert and Mary did not have any children at that time.
In 1942 when Robert had to register for the Draft during WWII he was living at 1143 Fifth Avenue in New York City. At the time he was working for the RKO Radio Picture Company. Mochrie listed N. E. Depinet as the person to contact on the form. Depinet was in fact Ned E. Depinet the Vice-President of the RKO Radio Pictures Studio. RKOÕs two initial releases were musicials, the melodramatic Syncopation, directed by Bert Glennon, which premiered on March 29, 1929 and the comedy Street Girl starring Betty Compson and John Harron later on August 1, 1929. It is likely that Robert Mochrie had worked on one or both of these films.
Robert Mochrie would live in New York City for nearly the rest of his life. His last place he lived was Spring Lake, New Jersey where he passed away in August of 1980.
This information on Pvt. McGahey was provided to me by Lorraine Sullivan of New Smyrna Beach, Florida. She is the daughter of Pvt. McGahey. She had contacted me in reguard to information on the 44th Artillery and at the time I did not have a page on them. Because Lorraine was asking me about the 44th I decided that now was a good time to research them. Many Thanks to You Lorraine for providing this information on your father.
William Patrick McGahey was born in Westborough, Mass. in June of 1896. He attended the Westborough schools. After his discharge from the Army, McGahey in 1922 received a degree in accounting from the Worcester Business Institute. He later became senior accountant for the John J. O' Connor Accounting Firm, Worchester, Mass. He later was appointed town accountant for the town of Westborough, Mass. in 1931. He retired from that position, but was called back to work and gave a total of 30 years in that position. He set up the First accounting system for the town, revised forms, devised a new type of Treasury Warrant, compiled cemetery records of perpetual care bequests from 1898 for the Cemetery Department. Each year he was complemented by state auditors relative to the excellent way in which he kept his records.
In 1965, he was named the Outstanding Municipal Employee of Westbouough, an award sponsored annually by the Massachusetts League of Cities and Towns. In addition, he was the town's Soldiers Relief Agent, Veterans Graves Officer, the Veterans Service Agent for 15 years, Clerk of Selectmen (appointed 1932), Assistant Civil Defense Director and Liaison Officer (following a tornado in 1953 to resignation in 1958), United Fund Director, World War II Honor Roll Committee, Chairman of Red Cross Blood Bank in Westborough from 1946 for 30 years. MaGahey Was A Disabled American Veteran From The Meuse-Argonne Offensive During World War One. He was a Disabled American Veterans Charter Member, a member of the Massachusetts Municipal Auditors and Accountants Association. He was a member of the American Legion, Stowell-Parker, Westborough, Mass. Post, for 56 years and was a past Commander. He was awarded the American Legion Medal of Honor, the Ralph W. Frantz Memorial Medal, award to high school graduates. He was instrumental in raising funds to provide for the first ambulance for the town of Westborough. He helped to adopt boys and girls state programs, and helped to set up blood type and donation programs for the Red Cross. He also was part of the Stowell-Parker Post tree fund. McGahey married his wife, Lena, after his return from France during World War one. She died just two months before they would have celebrated their 56th wedding anniversary. Together they had one daughter, Lorraine, and two granddaughters, Lynn and Lisa. McGahey died at the age of 79 in December of 1975.
This was presented to Pvt. McGahey by the French
A post card of the S.S. Cerdic sent back to his family from Pvt. McGahey. On the back dated Feb. 5th, 1919 he has written:
"Well I am back and I am good and glad this is the boat we came on. Some boat! We are at Camp Mills, N.J. I will be glad when I get home. Bill."
During WWI the American army was very untested as a fighting army by themselves. The battle at the St. Mihiel salient, which opened on September 12, 1918 would be one of the first places the American Army would prove it was up to the task. Supporting the American infantry units was the 44th Artillery, C.A.C. firing heavy 8-inch howitzers. On the opening day of the drive the 3rd Battalion of the 44th Artillery was on the firing line and steadily firing at a high rate of speed into the German lines that lasted for seven and a half hours. At the end of that first day the men of the 3rd Battalion had reports that the Germans were moving swiftly to the rear and now out of range of the guns of the 3rd Battalion.
These guns were manned by men who had names and stories to tell, and one of these men was Private Steven Thomas Killian of Battery E, 44th Artillery, CAC. This is the story of Private Killian.
In Cocke County, Tennessee, which borders along the Tennessee-North Carolina state lines, Steven Thomas Killian is born on November 7, 1892. He is the son of Joseph Huff Killian (1862-1915) and Eliza Jones (1879-1970). Very little is known of his early life except that what is known from the 1880 Census 12-years before he was born. StevenÕs father Joseph Huff Killian would have been born in Cocke County and was likely a farmer like his father Jacob Killian before him. So it is a fair guess that growing up young Steven Killian lived on a rural farm in Cocke County.
The first written record of Steven Killian comes from his marriage to Lola Estella Ottinger (1901-1977). On March 3, 1915 Steven and Lola were married in Parrotsville, Tennessee, which is located in Cocke County. Most likely Steven and Lola settled in Cocke County and they had their first child a daughter named Mildred Naomi who was born in 1916. During this time Steven Killian and several of the Ottinger family owned and operated a sawmill and logging operation in the area.
By the time Steven and Lola had begun their family war was raging in Europe, and Steven felt the call to serve his country in the Military. Nearly two-months before America would declare War, Steven Thomas Killian said good bye to his wife and daughter and went to the Columbus Barracks in Columbus, Ohio and enlisted into the United States Army on February 19, 1917.
We will likely never know for sure what his reasoning was but it may have been for patriotic reason or it may have been simply for work to support his new family. Once he was in the army Killian was part of the Army's Coast Artillery Corps, and was most likely sent to the east coast to one of the many fortifications of the Coast Artillery Corps. The exact path of how Killian came to be in Battery E of the 44th Artillery is not known, but it can be guessed at. Being that the 44th Artillery was formed from Coast Artillery units that were already in France in 1918 it can be surmised that he sailed to France early in 1917 when the first units of the Coast Artillery went to France. So it is a reasonable presumption to say that Killian was in France as early as late 1917.
This theory is also supported from the photo of Pvt. Killian in uniform, which has the same exact background as the photo shown of Pvt. William McGahey who was also a member of Battery E, and likely both Privates, Killian and McGahey knew each other. These photos were taken after the war because both men show Overseas Service Chevrons on their lower left sleeves. Pvt. McGahey has one chevron indicating he had served at 6-months in France, and Pvt. Killian shows 3 chevron indicating that he had served in France for 18-months. After the war ended the Artillery units that were there the longest generally came home quicker than those who had not been in France as long. The 44th Artillery left France on board the British passenger-cargo ship the RMS Cedric on February 5, 1919 for the States. The 44th Artillery was then stationed at Fort Totten, New York where the men who were not Regular Army were discharged. Being that Pvt. Killian was in the Army before the war and was Regular Army he remained in service until he was discharged at the end of his term on August 11, 1920 at Charleston, South Carolina.
But he may have not been serving on active duty during 1920 and may have been on Reserve status until his discharge in August of 1920. This is known from the 1920 Federal Census form where on January 22, 1920 Killian was then living on a farm with his wife Lola and daughter Mildred. Killian must have went by his middle name of Thomas for a time as on this census form and other documents he is listed as Thomas Killian. In January of 1920 Thomas and Lola Killian lived in Greene County, Tennessee where he worked as a farmer.Ê Greene County, Tennessee is an adjacent county to Cocke County and is located just to the northeast also along the Tennessee-North Carolina State lines.
The years between 1920 and 1930 for the Killian family were the growing years, because in 1920 a son named TJ was born and then in 1922 a second son named Max Everette was born and finally in 1925 a third son Howard Dale was born.
By April of 1930 when the Federal Census was taken the Killian family was still in Greene County but now they lived in the town of Greeneville at a home located at 434 West Main Street.
At the time Thomas Killian was working in a sawmill as a lumber matcher to support his growing family, and may have been the same mill he and the Ottinger's owned. The Killian house on West Main Street must have been somewhat large because on the 1930 Census form there are two other families listed as boarders at that location. They were Doyle and Lucile Smith and Lewis and Ruth Baxley. Doyle Smith worked as a receiver in a milk plant and Lucile Smith and the BaxleyÕs all worked in a local hosiery mill.
Steven Thomas Killian's health began to deteriorate from unknown reasons during the time they lived in Greeneville. It is not known what he was suffering from but family stories are told about his ill health had something to do with him being gassed with mustard gas during WWI. There is however no documentation that confirms this but it is likely that he may have been exposed to some type of gas while serving on the front lines in combat. We will really never know for sure, but the fact is that on August 25, 1932 Steven Thomas Killian passed away leaving his wife and four children. Today Killian lies buried in the Andrew Johnson National Cemetery in Section B Site 46 located in Greeneville, Tennessee.
But the impression Steven Thomas Killian left on his family was not forgotten. All three of his sons, TJ (1920-1978), Max Everette (1922-2007), and Howard Dale (1925-1988) would follow in their father's footsteps and joined the military to defend the country that had given them life. Both TJ and Max joined the United States Marine Corps during WWII. Max was a Sergeant and like his father served in an artillery unit. Max was wounded and received a Purple Heart and was a member of the 5th Amphibious Corps, serving on a 155mm howitzer during the Tarawa and Leyte Campaigns in the Pacific. Howard the youngest son joined the U. S. Navy during WWII.
Later in life Lola in the 1950's would leave Tennessee and move south to Cocoa, Florida to live with her children, Mildred, TJ and Howard. Lola would live on until she passed away in 1977, and is buried in Rockledge, Florida.
But the grave of Steven T. Killian, which is located in the Andrew Johnson National Cemetery in Greeneville, Tennessee, sits alone on a gently sloping hill resting in peace. This portion of the cemetery is known as Beacon Hill and was used as an outlook site during the Civil War. This is the story of the life and family that Private Steven Thomas Killian fought for in 1918.
Pvt. Steven Thomas KillianÕs grave stone at Andrew Johnson National Cemetery, Greeneville, Tennessee.
Private Steven T. Killian, Battery E, showing 3 Service Chevrons on left sleeve.
Private William P. McGahey, Battery E, showing 1 Service Chevron on left sleeve.