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History of the 70th Artillery, C.A.C.

During World War One


The 70th Artillery, C.A.C. was originally formed at Ft. Hamilton, New York from various Companies from the Coast Defenses of Southern New York in June of 1918 with Col. John T. Geary Commanding. After formation the Regiment was moved from Ft. Hamilton to Ft. Wadsworth, New York that same month. In July of 1918 the Regiment sailed for the war zone from Port of Embarkation Hoboken, New Jersey and served over seas until they returned on February 23, 1919 to Camp Merritt, New Jersey. On 12 March, 1919 the Regiment was demobilized at Camp Sherman, Ohio.

Upon arrival in France the Regiment went to O&T Center No. 4 (Operations and Training) at Angers, France. The Regiment trained here and the firing range was located at Montmorillon, France. The 70th Regiment together with it sister regiments of the 64th and 71st Regiments made up the 34 Brigade C.A.C.

The 70th Artillery was issued the new American assembled 8-inch British howitzers. These howitzers were of the British design and blueprints but were assembled in America at the Midvale Steel Company. The training was nearing its completion and about ready to go on the firing line when the Armistice was signed and the 70th went home without getting its licks in on "Fritz".

The Regiment was ready for embarkation on February 10, and on the morning of the eleventh broke camp and marched to the U.S. Transport Manchuria. About 2:00 am of the twelfth the Manchuria sailed for the United States. In addition to tins Regiment, the 71st Artillery, C.A.C., and about 1,000 wounded men made up the passenger list.

The trip was a very quiet one, with excellent weather throughout. A good mess was served and clean, comfortable quarters were provided for all. A few days out several mild cases of influenza appeared, and at once the medical officers, assisted by large details from the line, prepared gauze masks for each person on the ship and placed in isolation all persons who were suspected of being infected with the disease.

Below decks applications of creosol mixture were applied on all floors and officers lectured the men on the necessity of caring for their health, warning them not to spit or in any way contaminate any part of the ship. It is believed that this prompt action proved a successful combat against the dreaded disease. In spite of all precautions, however, there were four deaths among the enlisted personnel, including one from 71st Regiment.

The ship was docked at Hoboken about 12:25 pm, February 22, 1919. Immediately the debarkation officials proceeded with the movement of troops from the ship to the railroad, and with the exception of a large detail, which remained behind to police the ship, the Regiment moved out by train to Camp Merritt, New Jersey arriving there about 8:00 pm.

Below is a list of Officers of the 70th Artillery and where each Officer was located on 31 August, 1918. Many of the Officers of the Regiment were away from the Regiment attending several schools of instruction in the A.E.F.

Name Rank Branch HAS TAS Other
Location if not on Duty with the Regt.
With Regt.
Geary, John T. Colonel CAC
-
-
-
-
Yes
Watson, James D. Lt. Col. CAC
-
-
-
-
Yes
Bennett, Eli, E. Major CAC
-
-
-
-
Yes
Orr, Robert P. Major CAC
-
-
-
-
Yes
Lucas, Daniel R. Major CAC
-
-
-
-
Yes
Clay, Calvin E. Captain CAC
-
-
-
-
Yes
Barnwell, Clermont Captain CAC
-
-
-
Sick in Base Hospital #27
No
Burden, George a. Captain CAC
Yes
-
-
-
Yes
Dench, William L. Captain CAC
-
-
-
-
Yes
Dunaway, Sanford J. Captain CAC
-
-
-
-
Yes
Gavit, Walter P. Captain CAC
Yes
-
-
-
Yes
Hamilton, Burgoyne Captain CAC
-
-
-
-
Yes
Hazell, Joseph W. Captain CAC
-
-
-
-
Yes
Imperatori, Reginald J. Captain CAC
-
-
-
SD HAS, Angers
No
Lindt, John H. Captain CAC
-
-
-
-
Yes
Monell, Theodore Captain CAC
Yes
-
-
-
Yes
Newcomb, Robert S. Captain CAC
-
-
-
-
Yes
Pierce, Harry R. Captain CAC
-
-
-
-
Yes
Aiken, Archibald M. 1st Lt. CAC
-
-
-
SD HAS, Angers
No
Cooley, John C. 1st Lt. CAC
-
-
GS
-
Yes
Franklin, Kenneth S. 1st Lt. CAC
-
-
-
DS TAS, Vincennes
No
Franklin, Paul A. 1st Lt. CAC
-
-
-
DS TAS, Vincennes
No
Freeman, Elbert P. 1st Lt. CAC
-
-
-
DS TAS, Vincennes
No
Gaskin, Charles J. 1st Lt. CAC
-
-
-
-
Yes
Genung, George R. 1st Lt. CAC
Yes
-
-
-
Yes
Grosvenor, Charles G. 1st Lt. CAC
-
-
-
SD HAS, Angers
No
Iverson, Lawrence 1st Lt. CAC
Yes
-
-
-
Yes
Kelly, William 1st Lt. CAC
Yes
-
-
-
Yes
May, Louis W. 1st Lt. CAC
-
-
-
DS Aerial Observation School, Tours
No
McClelland, Royce 1st Lt. CAC
-
-
-
-
Yes
Neff, Russell M. 1st Lt. CAC
-
-
-
DS Aerial Observation School, Tours
No
Nelson, John L. 1st Lt. CAC
-
-
-
DS Radio & Telegraph School, Angers
No
Nord, Harry H. 1st Lt. CAC
-
-
-
SD HAS, Angers
No
Russell, Floyd L. 1st Lt. CAC
-
-
-
DS TAS, Vincennes
No
Simpson, Robert C. 1st Lt. MC
-
-
-
-
Yes
Tallmadge, Judson C. 1st Lt. CAC
-
-
-
DS TAS, Vincennes
No
Tepper, Abram S. 1st Lt. MC
-
-
-
-
Yes
Tyler, Joseph B. 1st Lt. CAC
-
-
-
DS Gas Defense School APO 714
No
Welch, George M. 1st Lt. CAC
-
-
-
-
Yes
Wheatley, Walter H. 1st Lt. CAC
Yes
-
-
-
Yes
Young, Stewart 1st Lt. CAC
-
-
-
-
Yes
Boman, Arthur L. 2nd Lt. CAC
-
-
-
DS Gas Defense School APO 714
No
Campbell, Owen J. 2nd Lt. CAC
-
-
-
-
Yes
Frankenfeld, Herman W. 2nd Lt. CAC
Yes
-
-
DS Camouflage School, Langres
No
Gross, Lawrence G. 2nd Lt. CAC
-
-
-
DS TAS, Vincennes
No
Hackney, Everett P. 2nd Lt. CAC
-
-
-
SD HAS, Angers
No
Hayes, Louis J. 2nd Lt. CAC
-
-
-
-
Yes
Jones, Andres M. 2nd Lt. CAC
-
-
-
DS TAS, Vincennes
No
Joyce, Charles V. 2nd Lt. CAC
-
-
-
DS Aerial Observation School, Tours
No
Kaplan, Irving E. 2nd Lt. CAC
-
-
-
DS TAS, Vincennes
No
Kasner, Arthur H. 2nd Lt. CAC
-
-
-
DS TAS, Vincennes
No
Kauder, William F. 2nd Lt. CAC
-
-
-
Aerial Observation School, Tours
No
Keck, George F. 2nd Lt. CAC
-
-
-
DS Army Intelligence Service, Bar-Sur-Aube
No
Kirkpatrick, William S. 2nd Lt. CAC
-
-
-
DS Radio & Telegraph School, Angers
No
Latz, Robert C. 2nd Lt. CAC
-
-
-
DS Radio & Telegraph School, Angers
No
Lauder, Harold M. 2nd Lt. CAC
-
-
-
DS Army Intelligence Service, Bar-Sur-Aube
No
LeRoy, William D. 2nd Lt. CAC
-
-
-
-
Yes
McKinley, James W. 2nd Lt. CAC
-
-
-
-
Yes
Milford, Robert M. 2nd Lt. CAC
Yes
-
-
-
Yes
O'Keeffe, George W. 2nd Lt. CAC
-
-
-
DS Radio & Telegraph School, Angers
No
Orser, Stanley M. 2nd Lt. CAC
-
-
-
DS TAS, Vincennes
No
Pardee, Sydney 2nd Lt. CAC
-
-
-
SD HAS, Angers
No
Regnemer, Ferdinand Jr. 2nd Lt. CAC
-
-
-
DS TAS, Vincennes
No
Rounds, Harold R. 2nd Lt. CAC
-
-
-
DS Aerial Observation School, Tours
No
Severn, Clarence N. 2nd Lt. CAC
-
-
-
DS Aerial Observation School, Tours
No
Siggelkow, John 2nd Lt. CAC
Yes
-
-
DS Orientation School, Angers
No
Ziebold, William O. 2nd Lt. CAC
-
-
-
DS Aerial Observation School, Tours
No

A view of the 70th from the lens of a camera

Below are several photographs that I purchased that were identified as being from Captain Reginald J. Imperatori, who is listed above. Captain Imperatori may have been a Battery Commander of the 70th Artillery. There are several guns pictured below and judging by the individual camouflage patterns there seems to be two distinct different guns. Photos 1-4 shows the same markings and Photos 5-8 have the same markings. Possibly these are two guns of one Battery. Each Battery would be made up of 4 guns. In command of the Battery would have been a Captain and so I'm assuming that Captain Imperatori would have been a Battery Commander.

1) In this photo we see a group of men posing for the camera man. Possibly these are the men who manned this gun. Notice on the barrel of the gun about have way down there is a distinct camouflage pattern that looks like a Letter T. This pattern is in the next 3 photos and it seems to be the same gun. 2) Again the same gun showing it in a closer view. Note the "T" marking on the barrel. By the looks of the background I would guess that this has been taken at Angers where the Regiment was trained. Also visible are the tracks of a Holt Caterpillar tractor in the right background of the photo.
3) Still the same gun as in the previous photos. 4) And a fourth photo of the same gun. This angle shows the muzzle of the Barrel. On the original photo you can see the grooved riflings in the barrel.
5) This gun has a different marking on the barrel. Look just above the soldiers left shoulder this area has been painted with a different marking then the previous 4 photos. The soldier has around his neck a bag. This bag contains his gas mask. This and the next 3 photos seem to be in more open country and may have been at the firing range in Montmorillon, France. 6) Same gun again and if you look closely at the muzzle of the barrel you can see that it has a plug covering the opening. This would have been done for transportation reasons.
7) Another shot of the same weapon. Most likely this is her gun crew in this photo. Notice the helmets and gas mask bags. 8) This is the same weapon again and look at the man on the far right of the photo. He has in his hands a paint can and was probably putting the finishing touches on the camouflage
9) In this photo a Sergeant is posing next to the limber of the gun. In the foreground you can see several poles laying on the ground. These are the guns ram rods used in loading and cleaning the gun. Also in the background is another gun and limber and a church in the very far background. 10) One of the guns of the 70th Artillery loaded onto a Rail Road flat car. This is how these guns were moved from the training camps to the front.
11) A good photo showing the breech end of the weapon. Here the soldier on the right side holds open the breech door with the lanyard in his hand as if to say to "Fritz" this is what we will give to you when we get to the front! 12) This photo again shows the breech of the gun. The breech door is closed and on the trails of the carriage can be seen the ram rods and also the cradle that is used to load the shell into the breech. This would have been held by two men one on each side of the trails as another man with the ram rod pushed the shell up into the bore of the weapon. On the left side of the breech can be seen the aiming controls of the gun.
13) In this photo we see what looks to be that of an entire Battery. 4 guns and tractors can be seen in this photo. 14) Moving a gun into position with one of the "Big Cats". This is a 120 hp Holt Caterpillar tractor, powered by a 4 cylinder engine.
15) A good close up photo of the Holt tractor. The center man is an officer and may be Captain Imperatori. The man on the right of the photo seems to be a guard or MP as he has in his left hand a Billie Club. 16) Another shot of what looks to be Captain Imperatori, second from the left. Note that the tractor is undergoing some repairs to the engine. The covers are off the engine and you can see the crankshaft and the Number one cylinder has been removed. Just to the right and behind Captain Imperatori you can see on the ground the piston and connecting rod. See it there by the curve of the tracks.
17) A good shot of the rear of one of the Holt Tractors. These tracked vehicles were made by the Caterpillar Tractor Company in America. They came in two sizes the smaller 75 hp model and this the 120 hp model. Note the oil can with the very long spout. 18) A group of drivers and mechanics that made these "Cats" work. These models had a canvas covering over the tractor and had fenders. They also had a wide steel wheel out front to aide in steering it. The smaller 75 hp ones did not have the coverings or the wheel out front.
19) A studio photo of who I believe is Captain Imperatori 20) Another photo of Captain Imperatori. This may have been the photo used for his Officers ID book.
21) Unidentified Officers. This came with the other photos of Captain Imperatori and I'm assuming that they may be other officers of the 70th Artillery. This seems to be on a ship and may have been when the Regiment sailed to France. 22) Another group of unidentified officers and one lady in the center. Possibly a wife or sister of one of the officers. The photo again seems to be on a ship
23) Three more unidentified officers and a woman on a ship. I can not tell for certain what the ranks of the officers are as the photo does not show clearly enough the shoulders of the officers. 24) This photo was identified on the back as Captain Imperatori in the side car, while in France.
The last photo that was in the group of photos of Captain Imperatori. In this photo we see an officer, looking very smartly who I believe is Captain Imperatori. He does not have his mustache and this photo may have been taken in the US before going to France. The officer in the photo is a Captain as can be seen by the Two bars of a Captain on his shoulders. Also the ribbons above his left breast pocket are the same as in photo No. 20. The lady with the tennis racket seems to be the same lady as in photo 22 above.

Sgt. William E. Dunn, Battery E

The photos of Sgt. Dunn were contributed by Michael Lacy () who is Sgt Dunn's grandson.

This photo is of William Edgar Dunn (far left) with a French hunting party in France. I would guess that this is near Angers, France where the regiment was based while in France.

Above is Cpl. William E. Dunn in the center standing at attention. The other two men are not identified. The caption reads: "The Three Sammies". The two photos on the right shows the innocent and carefree mood of the doughboys at the time, while the bottom photo shows the serious nature of what they were going to have to do when they got "over there". William Dunn is on the right in both photos. The other man is the same in both photos and is not identified.

On the left is William Dunn's Induction note. It shows that he was ordered for inducted into the US Army at Noblesville, Indiana on March 28, 1918. There is a handwritten note at the bottom that reads: "You will be held as fifth alternate in case someone else drops out".

Above four buddies embarking on an adventure of a life time. William Dunn is on the right end.
Above are William Dunn's promotion documents. On May 16, 1918 Pvt Dunn was promoted to the rank of Corporal while a member of the 15th Company, Coast Defenses of Southern New York. He was stationed at Ft. Hamilton, NY in the 15th Co. that was formed there in March of 1918. The 15th Company was part of the 40th Company stationed at Ft. Hamilton. On October 11, 1918 Cpl. Dunn was promoted to the rank of Supply Sergeant in Battery E of the 70th Artillery and was stationed at O&T Center No. 4 in Angers, France. This was APO 733 (Army Post Office) and the promotion document was signed by Lt. Col James D. Watson who was then Commanding Officer of the 70th Artillery.
Above is Sgt. Dunn's Discharge document. It tells us that Sgt Dunn was Honorably discharged from the Army at Camp Sherman, Ohio on March 12, 1919. Sgt Dunn was 26 1/2 years old at enlistment and was born in Hamilton County, Indiana and was a clerk before he entered the Army. Sgt. Dunn first day in the Army was on 3 April, 1918 and became a member of the 70th Artillery on 1 June, 1918, sailed for France on 15 July, 1918, returned to the States on 22 February, 1919, Discharged from the Army on 12 March, 1919. The back side of the document is signed by 1st Lt. Archibald M. Aiken who is listed above with the officers of the 70th Artillery. It is interesting that on the back side you see two round stamps. These are from the Hamilton County, Indiana Clerks Office giving Mr. Dunn the right to hunt, fish and trap. It reads:" A Free Permit to Hunt, Fish and Trap. Issued Here On:" One is stamped with the date 6/23/28 and the second is stamped 11/16/43

Sgt. Dunn's Final Resting Place

William is buried in the Arcadia Brethren Cemetery, about a mile east of Arcadia, Hamilton County, Indiana.


2nd Lt. Stanley M. Orser, Battery A

Gas mask of 2nd Lt. Orser showing the well preserved mask, which is still in very good condition. 2nd Lt. Stanley M. Orser hand decorated gas mask bag. Lt. Orser drawing on his skills as a civil engineer decorated his gas mask bag as a souvenir of his time while serving in France.

Stanley M. Orser was born on January 30th of 1893 in New York. He was the second eldest child of Fred A. Orser (b. September 1869, NY) and Nora M. Page (b. February 1871, NY). On June 5, 1900 the Fred Orser family lived in Onondaga County New York in a little village named Jordan. There in Jordan Fred Orser was a grocer and at the time he and Nora had been married for 10 years and at the time they had 5 children. They were Leon S. born February 1891, Stanley M. born 1893, Wayne P. born March 1894, Hazel S. born December 1895 and Gladys M. born in November 1896.

Living next to the Fred Orser household was another Orser. Her name was Carolina A. Orser born in June of 1843. She was a nurse and was divorced and was likely Fred Orser’s older sister. Living in the same home as Carolina was her younger sister, Francis A. Clerk who was widowed and she was born in May of 1850. Francis had a 19-year old single son named Arthur who was born in July of 1880 also living with them.

By 1910 the Fred Orser family still lived in Jordan, New York but now lived at 107 Mechanic Street and had added three more children to the family. They were Freda born 1902, son Blaine born 1905 and Thelma born in 1907. All eight children were still living in the home in April of 1910 and Fred was still working as a grocer to support the family.

Stanley Orser was like any other young 17-year old boy of the day, adventurous and daring. It was reported in the Jordan News section of the Sunday morning, January 30, 1910 edition of the The Syracuse Herald, that Stanley and 3 other boys were injured in an accident. It seems that Harold Cox, Bert Wood, Jack Vandusem and Stanley Orser were coasting down a hill, probably on a homemade coaster of some sort and were all knocked out when they crashed. The accident happened on Tuesday night on the Hamilton Street hill but by Saturday they were all going to be ok.

As the war clouds began to form over America and we were finally pulled into the growing conflict in Europe, Stanley in the spring of 1917 Registered for the Draft, as he was required to do. At the time he was single and worked for the New York State Highway department as a Civil Engineer. Stanley was a tall medium built 24-year old man with blue eyes and brown hair. At the time America was ill prepared for war and was going to be short of Army Officers to lead the million man army she need to raise to take to Europe. Being that Stanley was an educated man he was selected to become an officer and was commissioned as a 2nd Lt. serving with Battery A, of the 70th Artillery, C.A.C.

Lt. Orser served with the 70th Artillery Regiment and went to France, but the 70th did not see any action on the front lines. While in France as the 70th Artillery was undergoing its training many of its officers were away at various schools across France. Lt. Orser was among the officers who took classes in the many arts of war. During August of 1918 Lt. Orser was away from the Regiment attending school in Vincennes, France.

After his return from France in 1919 Lt. Orser was discharged from the Army and returned to civilian life and in 1924 Stanley Orser married and settled down. His wife’s name was Crystal and in 1930 they lived in Jamestown, New York. Crystal was born about 1899 in New York and they had at least one son named Robert S. born about December of 1929. On April 3, 1930 when the Federal Census was taken the Orser’s lived in a home located at 1092 North Main Street in Jamestown, where Stanley was still working as a civil engineer for the State of New York.

On November 15, 1947 Stanley’s father Fred A. Orser passed away. Fred Orser still lived in the same house on Mechanic Street in Jordan, NY when he died. Fred Orser owned and operated a general store in Jordan for 55 years retiring in 1945. At the time of Fred Orser’s death he was survived by his wife and two daughters, Gladys M. Orser of Cortland, NY, and Freda O. Furman of Wellsboro, PA and five sons Leon S. of Jordan, NY, Stanley M. of Mayville, NY, Wayne P. of Weedsport, NY, Blaine W. of Cleveland, OH and Keith L. of Auburn, NY. Fred Orser had 12 grandchildren and one Great-grandchild when he died. Only his daughter Thelma preceded him in death. He was buried in Maple Grove Cemetery in Jordan.

On January 28, 1952 Stanley Orser buried his brother, Blaine W. Orser. Blaine had lived in a Cleveland suburb for the past 15 years and owned a restaurant there in Fair View Park, Ohio. Two youth’s ages 18 and 20 held up the restaurant and Blaine Orser was hit with several bullets and died about 4 days later. Blaine’s body was returned to Jordan, NY where he was buried in the family plot there in Maple Grove Cemetery.

Stanley and his wife Crystal lived most of their live in Mayville, New York. Stanley and Crystal had three sons, Robert who died early, and there was a second son who died at birth, and a third son Stuart. Stuart’s daughter Kristen Crouse related how Crystal was never the same after Robert's early death and she actually threw away many family items and history of that time. Stanley M. Orser died in Boone, Kentucky at the age of 81 on May 1st, 1974. He and Crystal were still living in Mayville, NY at the time of Stanley’s death.


Corporal Lyle R. Willey, 603060, Headquarters Company

Lyle R. Willey was born about February or March of 1896 in Cardington, Ohio. Willey enlisted into the National Army at Lafayette, Indiana on april 3, 1918. He was placed into the Army's Coast Artillery Corps and sent to Fort Wadsworth in New York. There he served until June 1, 1918 when he was placed into the Headquarters Company of the newly formed 70th Artillery for duty overseas. Wiley made Private First Class on August 1, 1918 and then advanced to Corporal on November 1, 1918. He served overseas with the HQ Company, 70th Artillery, from July 15, 1918 until his return on February 22, 1919 and was Honorably discharged on march 12, 1919.


Sgt. George F. Reubert, 602979, Headquarters Company

Sergeant George Franklin “Frank” Reubert was a member of the 70th Artillery, CAC the day the Armistice was signed on November 11, 1918. Reubert had only been a Sergeant for ten-days, being promoted from Corporal on November 1. Sgt. Reubert was serving as an MP with the Headquarters Company.

Reubert had enlisted as a Private into the New York State National Guard on June 1, 1917, and was mustered into the 30th Company, Coast Defenses of Southern New York, New York Coast Artillery National Guard on July 22, 1917 at Fort Hamilton, NY. Private Reubert was transferred into the 29th Company then at Fort Wadsworth, NY in very early January, 1918. On January 22 Private Reubert was promoted to Private First Class and was again transferred into the 70th Artillery, CAC then forming at Fort Hamilton for duty in France. PFC Reubert was assigned to the Headquarters Company, 70th Artillery, CAC, and for the first time he was given a set of round aluminum dog tags with his service number of 602979 stamped into them. During the time the 70th Artillery was being formed at Fort Hamilton PFC Reubert was again promoted to Corporal on April 6, 1918.

On July 15, 1918 the entire 70th Artillery CAC, was loaded on the SS Great Northern, and sailed outbound from New York bound for France. Corporal Reubert saw the city he was born and raised in grow ever smaller on the horizon until only the Atlantic Ocean surrounded the SS Great Northern on the visible horizon.

The 70th Artillery arrived in France and began their training in earnest. The 70th would receive their guns and nearly be trained when the Armistice was signed and hostilities ended, thereby eliminating the chance for the 70th to make it to the front lines and do what they had trained for. On February 10, 1919 the entire 70th Artillery was joined with the 71st Artillery and loaded onto the transport SS Manchuria and steamed westward for the United States. Twelve days later on February 22, the Manchuria was docking in Hoboken, New Jersey where Sergeant Reubert again saw the city of his birth. The 70th Artillery was now in the process of being demobilized. On March 8, 1919 Sgt. Reubert was Honorably Discharged from the Army.

George Franklin “Frank” Reubert was born on February 28, 1891 at 435 W 33rd Street in Manhattan, New York to Helen Marion Hanson (1861-1948) and Henry Reubert (1860-1933). His siblings were Helen Dorothea “Dolly” Reubert (1886-1905), Henry F. Reubert (1889-1907), Emil Francis Reubert (1893-1960), and Edith Elizabeth Reubert (1897-abt.1963).

The family moved out of Manhattan to the fresher air of the Bronx when George was a young child. The Reubert family home was located at 1956 Bathgate Avenue in New York City. George’s aunt, Henry’s sister Martha Julia Reubert (1847-1922), came to live with them in 1900 after the death of her husband Henry Rode (1847-1900). George was 14-years old when his sister Dolly died at age 19, probably of tuberculosis. Two years later his older brother Henry died of tuberculosis at the age of 17. George was now the oldest of the three surviving Reubert children.

Henry Reubert was a German Immigrant and in the summer of 1900 owned and operated the Reubert Piano Store located at 375-370 Bleecker Street in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village where they repaired, sold and tuned pianos to support his family. This was a 5-story red brick building built in 1905 with the piano store on the ground floor and 4 apartment units on the floors above. This building is beautifully restored and still stands today much as it did when the Reubert’s sold pianos there.

In the summers of George’s youth, the Reubert family enjoyed camping on a piece of land that his father Henry owned in Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey. This land occupied the very edge of the bluff with a sweeping view of Sandy Hook Bay, land that is today a public park. Henry later built a “double house” (a duplex) on the property to use as a vacation home. The extended Reubert family also enjoyed the property, and George’s cousins the Millers later owned half of the duplex. According to George’s son Donald, George “had to let the property go for taxes” sometime during the Great Depression of the 1930s.

By 1910 George now 19-years old, had finished school and was working with his father selling and tuning pianos at the family business. As George learned the piano business he also served as the treasurer for the company. By the spring of 1917 America had now joined the war then raging in Europe, and within two months of America’s entry into the war George had enlisted into the New York State National Guard. George’s younger brother Emil also served in the Army during the First World War. Emil was a Sergeant serving in Texas until he resigned to accept a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the infantry.

Among the family mementos of George’s time in the army are several touching letters saved from this time that were written to George in the service by friends and family members. Among the letters is one from the Bronx Masonic Temple, Guiding Star Lodge #565, showing George to have become a Mason sometime in his teen years, as had his father Henry before him.

After his discharge in March of 1919 from service in the Army George Reubert returned to his family in the Bronx and went to work again with his father at their Piano store, tuning pianos, selling them and keeping the books.

In the years before the First World War, George had become acquainted with his sister Edith’s best Girl Scout buddy, a pretty but solemn girl named Helen Jay. In the fall of 1919 George and Helen had fell in love and on October 23, 1919 they were married at the Tremont Presbyterian Church in the Bronx. George and Helen began their marriage living in New York City next to his parents and two of his siblings, and were living there when their first child, a son they named Jay Franklin who was born on December 3, 1920.

During 1923 George and Helen bought a house in Rutherford, New Jersey, where they raised three boys, Jay Franklin Reubert (1920-2000), Donald George Reubert (1924-2015), and William Bruce Reubert (1930-2003). As the spring of 1930 began George Reubert was still working the family piano business, and was then living in a home that he and Helen owned located at 433 Lincoln Avenue in the Borough of Rutherford in New Jersey. In 1933 George’s father Henry passed away and he inherited the Reubert Piano Company, along with the summer house in Atlantic Highlands. Somewhere in the middle 1930s, he could no longer afford the summer house in Atlantic Highlands because The Great Depression had taken a toll on the piano store, leaving little extra money for the upkeep of the summer house. The business survived the lean times of the depression, and so did the family, but not the Atlantic Highlands property. Sadly, George had to let it go as he could no longer afford it.

Helen’s father Harold “Harry” Jay came to live with George and Helen in 1931, upon the death of Helen’s mother. Upon Harry Jay’s death in 1940 Frank and Helen inherited the Jay family’s ancestral home in Chester, Connecticut. George and Helen had spent summers at the “Jay’s Nest,” Helen full time and George on weekends. George and Helen’s son Donald remembers that his dad would accompany the family up to Connecticut on the train at summer’s start, and then drag out an old rowboat he kept in the shrubbery along the riverbank of the Connecticut River near the Goodspeed Opera House. He’d then row back and forth across the river getting his wife, children and all their luggage over to the house.

By the time America had become embroiled into a second war George again registered for the draft in 1942, and he was still running the family piano business on Bleecker Street back in Manhattan.

From the example of service to his country during the First World War, George Reubert must have made an impression on his three sons, all of whom served their country during the Second World War.

The eldest son Jay Franklin joined the US Navy in the spring of 1942 and became a Navy fighter pilot flying F6F Hellcats off the deck of the USS Lexington with Squadron VF92 as a Captain. Jay Franklin would go on to become a commercial airline pilot for Eastern Airlines, flying for over 34-years.

Donald George, the second son also joined the US Navy in 1943. Donald George followed his older brother’s footsteps and also became a US Navy fighter pilot, flying Grumman F8F Bearcats. After the war he too became a commercial airline pilot flying for US Airways.

The youngest son William Bruce decided that two Reubert brothers being Navy pilots was enough and he followed his father’s footsteps and joined the US Army during the war. Although William Bruce still followed his two older brother’s footsteps becoming a pilot in the Army Air Corps during the war, and after the war was a commercial airline pilot for Eastern Airlines, the same airline his eldest brother Jay worked for.

George Franklin’s mother Helen Marion Hansen Reubert would pass away in 1948. After the three sons of George and Helen were grown and married, the grandchildren started coming along. The first was Jay Franklin’s daughter Kathleen in 1948, and by 1960, George and Helen had 10 grandchildren. All of them have wonderful childhood memories of the player piano in the Rutherford, New Jersey house, and playing and fishing along the Connecticut River at the “Jay’s Nest.” Not to mention the lack of electricity and indoor plumbing at the Connecticut house, and George’s beehives that he kept out back near the aromatic two-hole outhouse.

1960 also saw the death of George’s brother Emil, followed by his sister Edith a few years later. In the late 1950s, George and Helen began to talk of retiring to Connecticut. In 1959 George and Helen sold the “Jay’s Nest” which by then was in need of major repairs, and bought a smaller, more modern two-bedroom bungalow in Ivoryton, Connecticut. Then in 1968 they sold the Rutherford house and George finally closed down the piano business. With his siblings gone and all three sons working as commercial airline pilots, there was no one to pass the business to. His last business tax return shows the store was closed and inventory sold off in April of 1968.

For some years after that, Frank earned additional retirement income by tuning pianos around the Ivoryton, Connecticut area. Somewhere around the time of retirement, he was diagnosed with emphysema. He had to give up the pipe that he had smoked for so many years, and he had to take life easy as his breathing became more difficult.

George Franklin Reubert would pass away on June 28, 1978 at the Middlesex, Connecticut hospital. He was cremated and when Helen passed away on September 22, 1985 she was cremated and their ashes were buried in a peaceful spot under a tree in Laurel Hill Cemetery, Chester, Connecticut. There is a memorial cross outside the Ivoryton Congregational Church where Frank and Helen were longtime members.

Sgt. George Franklin Reubert, Service No. 602970
HQ Company, 70th Artillery, CAC

Above is a photo of Private Reubert with his winter Great Coat on standing in fron of one of the barracks buildings. Photo is dated 1917 on the back so this would likely place this photo at Fort Hamilton, NY in November or December, 1917.


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