Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving 1953

These photos are from before my time - This is my father's side of the family celebrating Thanksgiving dinner in the Skinner family home in Valley Falls, RI. My Aunt Shirley had been married earlier  that year and she and her new husband Malcolm, drove up from Connecticut. Annie Betts Skinner was the matriarch at this table - she was 83 years old here and her husband, J. Frank Skinner had died four years earlier. One of her daughters, F. Hazel Skinner (my grandmother) was also gone but her daughter Myrtle Skinner Blackmar was there, along with at least 3 of her 4 sons. My Mom and Dad drove up from New Jersey - my mom is in the pink sweater. My father took the photo. Aunt Shirley and Cousin Allan - enjoy! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving everyone!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Howard Mellor Grant - Veteran of World War I

I read last night that the last remaining veteran of World War I died just last year. In some respects, it is astounding that any veterans from this war were still alive. However it is sobering that no one alive has a remembrance of this war for which Veteran's Day was originally founded. And in the not too distant future, there will also be no surviving World War II veterans.

Howard Mellor Grant
1898 - 1922
Howard Mellor Grant was my great-uncle. He was born on 27 January 1898 in Central Falls, Rhode Island to William Sprague Grant and Mary Helen Mellor, and had a twin sister, Marion Mellor Grant.

According to family documents, Howard enlisted on 5 June 1917 and served in the 104th Ambulance Company, 26th Division, of the American Expeditionary Forces. Since this Division drew most of its members from New England, it was called the Yankee Division.

According to family papers, Howard was called into service on 25 July 1917 and sailed for France 2 Sept 1917. He landed in England on the 17th of October. He participated in many of the important battles and engagements of World War I in France, including Chemin des Dames on the Toul Sector, Seicheprey, and Chateau Thierry during the spring and early summer of 1917. Howard and the Division also served in the Aisne-Marne Offensive and saw battle near St. Mihiel, and participated in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive on the Trojan and Verdun Sectors.

After the Armistice was signed on 11 November 1918, Howard's unit sailed from Brest in Brittany, France and arrived in Boston. He was honorably discharged on 29 April 1919 from Camp Devens in Massachusetts.

Howard received shrapnel wounds in the leg during the Aisne-Marne Offensive on 22 June 1918. He rejoined his command and was gassed in the battle of Seicheprey and severely wounded by shrapnel over the left eye.

Howard worked as a clerk before the War and I assume he returned to that occupation upon his discharge. He probably returned to the family home on Jenks Street in Central Falls, but his family was missed being enumerated there during the 1920 census. He was active in the Valley Falls Baptist Church.

Howard died suddenly on the morning of 20 February 1922 probably due to a blood clot breaking loose from the piece of shrapnel still in his head, according to a report from the Medical Examiner in family papers. He had just turned 24 years old less than a month before. He is buried in the Grant Family plot in Moshassuck Cemetery in Central Falls.