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Colonel Shedd

Colonel Benjamin Baer Shedd

Born in Waltham, Mass. December 27th 1873, he is the son of Albert Howard and Clara Crocker Shedd. His father was descended from Daniel Shedd who settled in Quincy, Mass. it 1642 in that portion called Shedd's Neck, now Hough's Neck. His mother's ancestors came from William Crocker who arrived in Barnstable, Mass. in 1630.

His family moved to Hingham Massachusetts where he attended Derby Academy and was graduated in 1890.

After graduation, he went to Chicago, Ill., to enter the wholesale department of Marshall Field & Company of whom John G. Shedd, a cousin, was then a partner. He returned to Boston in November of 1894 to enter the employ of his uncle of Shedd and Crane Leather Company. On the death of his uncle the firm merged with Rice & Hutchins, Inc. and became known as the Shedd Leather Company, Colonel Shedd being secretary. This firm was dissolved in 1917 when Colonel Shedd entered World War One. After the war he became affiliated with the American Oak Leather Company as a salesman. He subsequently entered the investment securities business with Arthur Perry & Company, and later with F. A. L. Putnam & Company.

After retiring from the military, he became active in the Swedenborgian Church on Beacon Hill, Boston, of which his families were members. He was chairman of the Church Committee, then of the Standing Committee and moderator of members meetings. In the affiliated connections of the church, he was president of the Massachusetts New Church Union, director of the New Church Theological School, and of the Chapel Hill School, trustee of several of its trust funds, and a member of the New Church Club.

He is a life member of Dalhousie Lodge, A.F. & A.M. in Newtonville, Mass., and he instigated the first full dress military night in that lodged in 1914. He is also a member of the Republican Club of Massachusetts, the Boston City Club, and of the executive committee of the Shedd Family Association.

His first military service was in the newly organized Illinois Naval Reserve, rising to the rank of Ship's Corporal on the petty officers staff, which organization was called out in the great Chicago railroad strike in June of 1894, together with all other available forces.

In February of 1899, he enlisted in Battery B, First Regiment Heavy Artillery, Mass. Volunteer Militia, promoted to Corporal and Sergeant, elected 2nd Lt. in July of 1902; 1st Lt. in February of 1906; Captain in June of 1907; Major in March of 1911; Lieutenant Colonel in March of 1917; Colonel in March of 1920. The Regiment trained as Infantry and Coast Artillery.

Batteries B marched in the inaugural parade of President McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt; also with the entire regiment in these of presidents Taft and Wilson. In the latter Parade the military expert of the New York Evening Post stated "Of all the working regiments the First Massachusetts Coast Artillery looked and marched the best."

Colonel shed was one of the organizers of the Massachusetts National Guard Association and its first secretary. He was among the first to report with his company for duty at the great fire in Chelsea in 1908. He frequently was assigned on special boards for examining and investigation and also trained recruits for service on the Mexican border in 1916.

On July 25th, 1917 he was called with his regiment to the Coast Defenses of Boston and was assigned to Fort Andrews as second in command to the Commanding Officer of the regular army. On August 5th, he was sworn in with his regiment to the United States service for the duration of the war, and on the 18th became Fort commander on the departure of the regular officer. Later he was assigned by Colonel Thomas Ridgway, the harbor defense commander, whose son is now Lieutenant General Matthew Ridgway, as the battle commander of the southern battle command in case of action with his headquarters at Fort Warren. This command comprising Forts Andrews, Revere, Standish, and Warren.

On December 1, 1917, he was assigned as Lieutenant Colonel 55th Regiment, Coast Artillery Corps and assisted in organizing and equipping it to served in France with French 155 mm longer-range guns. Three of its batteries and Supply company came from historic Massachusetts Coast Artillery National Guard, two batteries and Headquarters Company from Boston Harbor regulars, and one from Rhode Island Coast Artillery National Guard, 71 officers and 1716 enlisted men in all, sailed from New York March 25, 1918, on SS Mauritania. Ascending the river to Liverpool about noon on April 2nd, receiving a noisy and rousing reception all the way as a rumor had circulated that the ship had been torpedoed. However, the ship had zigzagged away from one or two submarines. The Regiment camped a few days at Romsey and on April 7th, under Colonel Shedd's command, marched over the old Roman road 8 mi. to Southampton, and it embarked for LeHarve, France. This being Sunday the streets in the towns were lined with people going to church who watched mournfully as the Band played "Onward Christian Soldiers." After a few days, entrained there and reached the Artillery Center, Cleremont-Ferrand, on April 11th. The guns intended for the use of the Regiment had not yet arrived. In the meantime, several officers and men were sent away to other stations and Colonel Shedd went to the great supply depot at Gievres, France and became commander of this section containing up to 20,000 men. He made trips to the front inspecting advanced Supply stations.

On January 21, 1919, he was appointed to the United States Peace Commission in Paris, in charge of the Shoe and Leather Section of the Reparations Division, and toured through the devastated regions interviewing Chambers of Commerce and the local town officials, making full written reports. Upon discontinuation of this division, he was ordered home on February 24th, 1919, and discharged at Fort Monroe, Va. on March 31st, 1919. He was called to duty as Lieutenant Colonel of a Provisional organization of the First Coast Artillery Regiment, National Guard, September 13-24, 1919 to serve in Boston during the police strike.

March 20th, 1920, was promoted to colonel and directed to raise a regiment of Coast Artillery. He called upon all his former officers and enlisted men and others who were willing to serve again and completed the full 12 companies on March 20th, 1920, when the War Department recognized them as the First Coast Defense Command, Massachusetts National Guard. Headquarters and five companies were located in Boston, one company in Chelsea, Hingham and Plymouth, two companies each in Fall River and New Bedford.

The first training camp was held in the Boston Harbor Forts during that summer. On August 21st, 1921, the Regiment was selected as escort to President Harding in the Plymouth Tercentenary Parade. At the dinner, the president highly complemented the Colonel on the appearance of his regiment.

On November 14th, commanding his five Boston companies, he escorted in Boston Marshall Foch, hero of France, amid a great ovation and was a guest at the dinner given in honor of the Marshall by Governor Cox.

For the annual summer camp in 1923 Colonel Shedd took his regiment to Fort Wright, Fishers Island, New York. It was the first time for many years that the regiment had trained together as a unit and with such good results that this practice has continued ever since. In 1924 the designation of the regiment was changed by the War Department to the 241st Coast Artillery.

On April 19th, 1925, Colonel Shedd led six batteries of his regiment, one of which was Battery D, which was descended from the Roxbury Artillery which besieged Boston in 1776, as an escort to Vice President Dawes and General Pershing in a parade to Faneuil Hall, commemorating the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Lexington.

At his last summer camp at Fort Wright in 1926, he conducted the usual Battery target practice as a Regimental Battle Command practice and gave his orders to fire accordingly, the first time this was ever done in this way. The results were accurate and very satisfactory.

On March 20th, 1927, he was retired in accordance with the Massachusetts law limiting the Commanding Officer of regiments to seven years. The Army and National Guard inspecting officers of both camps and armory duty gave him and his regiment a rating of excellence, the highest possible. During his term of service, he was appointed a delegate to represent Massachusetts at several conventions of the United States National Guard Association.

Among other military associations he was a charter member of Medford Post No. 45, American Legion, and charter member of the Military Order of the World War, and assisted in organizing the Army and Navy Club of Boston, also a charter member of New England Chapter No. 12, of Boston, National Sojourners, an organization Masonic officers of the United States Military Service. He was elected it in 1925 as commander of the Old Guard of Massachusetts and a member of the Lawrence light Guard Veterans Association of Medford.

During World War II he served as an Air Raid Warden in Medford and received a citation from the United States Secretary of the Treasury for the large amount of war bonds that he had sold.

Resume of Colonel Benjamin B. Shedd

Born in Waltham, Massachusetts, December 27, 1873. Removed to Hingham, Massachusetts entered Derby Academy and graduated in 1890.

Enlisted in Battery B, First Regiment, Heavy Artillery, February 1899, promoted to Corporal and Sergeant, elected 2nd Lt. July 1902, 1st Lt. February 1906, Captain June 1907, Major March 1911, Lt. Colonel March 1917, Colonel March 1920, and retired March 1927 in accordance with the state seven-year law.

Upon mustering into the World War service in August of 1917, was placed in command of Fort Andrews, Boston Harbor, where I had charge of property worth nearly a million dollars. In December 1917 I was assigned to the 55th Regiment, Army Artillery as Lt. Colonel for duty in France and assisted in organizing it out of the Coast Artillery troops in the Boston Forts. Half of the regiment was composed of the Massachusetts Coast Artillery and the rest from the regular army and Rhode Island.

Arrived in France April 2, 1918, expecting to receive French 155 mm guns and equipment. This was delayed for two or three months and many of our officers were detached for other duty. I was sent to Gievres, France, and had command of the section of the largest United States intermediate supply station. There were between 5000 and 20,000 men under my command at various times. I made several trips to the front under fire to inspect Supply stations.

In January 1919, I was assigned to the United States Peace Commission in Paris and placed in charge of estimating the damage to the shoe and leather industry in the devastated regions of France for reparation purposes. Discharged from the United States service at Fort Monroe, Virginia, March 31st, 1919.

Commissioned Colonel of Coast Artillery, Massachusetts National Guard, March 1920 and reorganized the entire regiment. My headquarters were at South State Armory, Boston, where I was custodian of this Armory for seven years. The United States inspecting officer raided the Regiment at my last inspection as "Very Satisfactory", the highest rating possible.

In business I entered the employ of my uncle, the Shedd & Crane Leather Company in 1897 and worked as stockman. Arose through various grades of stock keeping and bookkeeping and became a salesman. My uncle died in 1901. The firm was taken over by Rice & Hutchins, Inc., the name changed to Shedd Leather Company and I was taken into the firm as secretary. A part of my duties was the supervision of tanneries in Pennsylvania and in Woburn. The business was closed up when I entered the war in 1917. After the War I became a salesman for the American Oak leather company. Due to serious curtailment of production in 1926, I left this company and became associated with Arthur Perry & Company, investment bonds, and am with them at this present time.

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This page was last updated on: 9/15/08