44th Artillery CAC

The History of the 44th Artillery, CAC During WWI



The 44th Artillery, CAC has its roots in the Howitzer Regiment, 30th Separate Artillery, CAC. This was the fourth regiment within the ranks of the Coast Artillery Corps to be formed for duty in France during the war. The first three regiments were the 6th, 7th and 8th Provisional Regiments. Orders were issued from the War Department for another artillery brigade to be raised and formed. This regiment was to consist of a Regimental Headquarters Company, Supply Company and four battalions of two batteries each. The men for this new regiment to be known as the Howitzer Regiment 30th Separate Artillery, CAC, came mostly from Regular Coast Artillery men along the east coast of the United States. As created the names of the companies and batteries were as follows: Headquarters Company, Supply Company, 1st Battery, 2nd Battery, 3rd Battery, 4th Battery, 5th Battery, 6th Battery, 7th Battery, 8th Battery.

It was on August 13, 1917 that the entire Howitzer Regiment sailed aboard the SS Lapland from New York for France. Once in France the United States Coast Artillery Corps units underwent an almost weekly re-organizational process in which units were re-assigned transferred and names changed. So, the paths that some of the early Coast Artillery Corps units traveled get a bit intertwined to say the least.

The Howitzer regiment, as they were first known went to Mailly-le-Camp, France, as this was the place the American Army had selected as the main location for its Railway Artillery units to be based out of. At the beginning Mailly-le-Camp was nothing more than an empty field but soon enough the CAC learned that this was not an acronym for Coast Artillery Corps but it came to be known as Construct All Camps to the men. The men left America with just the packs on their backs and a rifle but no Artillery weapons at all. America had no mobile heavy artillery to take to France. The men would get British or French hand-me-downs once they got to the war zone. So, without any artillery weapons the next best thing was to build camps.

It was in April of 1918 that the first big change came to the Howitzer Regiment, as they were divided into three separate Regiments known as the 51st Artillery, 52nd Artillery and the 53rd Artillery. These three regiments were under the command and control of the 30th Artillery Brigade, CAC.

And then again there was another major re-organization in late July-early August 1918 ordered by the General Headquarters AEF. The regiments of the 30th Brigade i.e. the 51st, 52nd and 53rd Regiments were re-organized into six new regiments which were then numbered as the 42nd, 43rd, 51st, 52nd 53rd and 81st Artillery Regiments, CAC. But the 2nd Battalion of the 51st Artillery were assigned to the 57th Artillery and in return the 57th Artillery gave its Batteries C and D up to become part of the 43rd Artillery. During this change the 30th Brigade now consisted of the 42nd, 52nd and 53rd Regiments. The 51st and 81st Regiments became part of the 39th Artillery Brigade and were then not part of the Railway Artillery reserve. Shortly thereafter the 81st Regiment became known as the 44th Artillery Regiment, CAC.

The 44th Artillery CAC 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 S.S. Cedric on February 5, 1919 to Fort Totten, New York.

The Second Battalion, 44th Artillery C.A.C. which were Batteries C and D had 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 Howitzer Regiment, commanded by Captain R. A. Linton sent its first 8" howitzer shell into the German lines. The location was near the village of Thann, opposite Mulhouse, Germany.

At Haussimont, France on March 30, 1918 the 3rd Battalion of the Howitzer Regiment was formed into 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. After some brief training the they left for the front on April 11, 1918 heading for Belfort in the Alsace. In was in this relative “Quiet Sector” that the Battalion started shooting up the Germans. These two batteries later became 2nd Battalion, 44th Artillery, C.A.C.

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 it in a small German village, back of the lines. The American Artillery 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.

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 believed 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.

It was not 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!”

“Anyone hurt?”

The man at the telephone evidently turned to find out if anyone was hurt, and I heard someone shout, “‘Hell 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.”

“Anyone hurt? “

“No, sir.”

“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 its 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. C., 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.

Battery Cahill

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.]

Hall, Herbert W.
First Lieutenant, U.S. Army
44th Artillery, Coast Artillery Corps
Date of Action:  September 27, 1918
Citation:

The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Herbert W. Hall, First Lieutenant, U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action near Thiaucourt, France, September 27, 1918. Lieutenant Hall was in charge of a trainload of ammunition being sent to two 8-inch howitzer batteries in active operation against the enemy. Finding that part of the light railway track had been destroyed by enemy shell fire, he secured a detail of men under an engineer officer and worked with them to repair the track. When the engineer officer was killed by an exploding shell, Lieutenant Hall assumed full charge and. continued the work under heavy shell fire, showing utter disregard for personal danger and inspiring confidence in his men by his calmness, decision, and courage.

General Orders No. 15, W.D., 1919. Home Town:  Boston, MA

 

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."

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

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.

Muster of the 44th Artillery, CAC

If you know of someone and have facts and stories please contact me and I will add them here with thier fellow soldiers so that what they did "Over There" will be remembered for all time.


First Battalion, Battery A and Battery B

Wagoner, Chesley C. Smith, 253949, Battery A

Chesley C. Smith of Haiford, Florida on August 19, 1916, enlisted into the Regular Army at Columbus Barracks, Ohio at the age of 16-years old. 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 Motor Transport Corps Company. In January of 1918 Pvt. Smith was selected for duty in France with the MTC. On January 13, 1918 in Hoboken, New Jersey, Smith's Auto Repair Detachment of 2-officers and 93-enlisted men boarded the transport SS Agamemnon and sailed across the Atlantic for France. He would serve with the MTC in France 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.

Smith was promoted to Bugler on May 1, 1917, Private on January 10, 1918 and made Wagoner on August 1, 1918, while with the 44th Artillery. Wagoner Smith returned to the States with the 44th Artillery aboard the SS. Cedric on January 26, 1919, boarding in Brest, France. The Cedric arrived in New York on February 5. The 44th Artillery went to Fort Totten and remained there until he deserted at Ft. Totten on September 22, 1919.

Pvt. Grafton L. Mouen, 817760, Battery A

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. Mouen was placed into the Army's Coast Artillery Corps and was sent to duty at Fort Winfield Scott, California. In June a draft of men, then serving at Fort Scott, was selected for a Replacement Draft Detachment to be sent to France for duty, and Pvt. Mouen was among those selected. On June 28, 1918 twelve ships sailed from New York for France. Aboard one of these ships, the SS Saxon, Pvt Mouen was sailing across the Atlantic bound for France. 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 SS Cedric boarding in Brest, France on January 26, 1919 and arrived New York on February 5. He was Hororably discharged on February 20, 1919.

Pvt. Robert J. Grant , Battery A

Robert J. Grant was born on May 28, 1898 and entered the Army in New York, likely before April of 1917. He was first placed in the 114th Company, Coast Artillery Corps stationed at Fort Wadsworth, New York. This company was formed into Battery E of the 8th Provisional Regiment, CAC, but Pvt. Grant did not sail with the 8th Provisional Regiment. He remained at Ft. Wadsworth until he was selected in the April 1918 replacement draft of men from the Coast Defenses of Narragansett Bay. On April 23, 1918 Pvt. Grant boarded the USS Mercury with the April Replacement Draft and sailed to France.

Through several artillery re-organizations while in France, Pvt. Grant found himself in Battery A of the newly formed 44th Artillery. He would returned to the States with the 44th Artillery. On January 6, 1919 in Brest, France the 44th Artillery was loaded aboard the SS Cedric and steamed westward across the Atlantic and arrived in New York on January 20. The men were offloaded and sent to Camp Mills, where the men were discharged.

Grant would live 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.

Wagoner, George F. Stever, Battery A

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, “Had adopted a WWI Veteran” 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 soldier’s 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. George’s 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. On March 14, 1918 seven troopships would sail from New York bound for France with troops. The seven ships were the Pocahontas, Henry R. Mallory, La Touraine, Aeolus, Matsonia, Orduna, and Kentuckian. Among the troops aboard the Matsonia was the First Company, Camp Meade Replacement Draft with 2-officers and 216-enlisted men, and the Second Company, Camp Meade Replacement Draft with 2-officers and 257-enlisted men. Pvt. Stever is listed among the men with the Second Company, Camp Meade Replacement Draft. Pvt. Stever listed as next of kin his father, Frank Stever of Treichlers, Pennsylvania.

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 Cleva’s stone indicating such. At the time of George’s 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. Paul’s Cemetery in Indianland, Pennsylvania.

Sergeant, Fred Anthony Bauer, Service No. 150589

Fred Anthony Bauer was born March 24, 1894 in Barnesville, Minnesota to Amelia and Charles Bauer who were German-American parents. Previous to his enlistment into the U. S. Army Fred Bauer worked as a machinist. On December 8, 1915 Fred A. Bauer enlisted into the Regular Army in Indianapolis, Indiana and was sent to the Columbus Barracks, Ohio.

Pvt. Bauer was then assigned to the 4th Company, C.A.C. at Ft. Totten, New York. On July 1, 1916 Pvt. Bauer was advanced to grade of Corporal on April 21, 1917. Cpl. Bauer was transferred to the 6th Company, Ft. Totten, New York and on July 23, 1917 Cpl. Bauer was advanced to grade of Sergeant.

Once America had entered into the war the Coast Artillery Corps began to re-organize and form units for duty in France. The 30th Artillery Brigade was formed for this duty, and was made up of eight howitzer Regiments. Sgt. Bauer was transferred into Battery H of the 7th Howitzer Regiment. Throughout the summer of 1917 the 30th Artillery Brigade was being assembled and put into a wartime footing. They would be the fourth Coast Artillery regiment to sail for France in that summer of 1917. August was the month that all four coast Artillery regiments would sail for France. The 6th, 7th, and 8th Provisional Regiments were in the process of sailing in the early of August and on August 15 it was now the eight regiments of the 30th Artillery Brigade’s turn to leave for France.

The eight regiments of the 30th Artillery Brigade along with Sgt. Fred Bauer had boarded the SS Lapland in New York, which was to be their transportation to France. Sgt. Bauer had to list a name to contact in case of an emergency when he boarded the ship and he listed his father Charles Bauer of 848 Flint Ave in Devils Lake, North Dakota. As the Lapland made her way out of New York and the Statue of Liberty grew smaller in her wake, Sgt. Bauer and the rest of the troops aboard likely had the thought of would they get to see this lady Liberty ever again run through their minds.

Once in France the American Coast Artillery Corps units began an almost weekly re-organization. Bauer’s original unit, Battery H of the 7th Howitzer Regiment was re-organized into Battery H, 52nd Artillery. But shortly after Sgt. Bauer was transferred back into the 30th Artillery Brigade but this time into the 4th Battery. And then that unit was re-organized into Battery B of the 44th Artillery Regiment, the outfit he would serve with through the rest of the war. It was with both the 52nd and 44th Artillery Regiments he was to see combat at the front lines with. Sgt. Bauer served on the front lines in combat at the St. Mihiel Offensive; the Champagne-Marne Defensive; and the Lorraine, Alsace and Champagne Defensive Sectors.

After the war ended the 44th Artillery was selected to return back to the States. And as such they turned in their artillery weapons and headed for Brest, France to await a ship to take them back home. In the last week of January 1919, the USS Cedric arrived in the port of Brest and the 44th Artillery went aboard for the trip back home. Sgt. Bauer listed his mother Amelia as the contact name on the passenger list for the trip back home. The Cedric arrived in New York City on February 4, 1919 and the 44th Artillery went ashore once again back on home soil.

After return to the States, Sgt. Bauer being a Regular Army soldier received new duties and was serving at Fort Totten, New York until April 26, 1919 when he was furloughed to the Reserves. Sgt. Bauer remained in the Reserves until honorable discharged on June 4, 1920.

After his return back to U. S. Soil Fred had become engaged to a young German born woman named Gertrude H. Schmidt. She had become naturalized in 1908 and she and Fred were married in Manhattan, New York on March 1, 1919 just about a month after returning from France.

While still in the army under reserve status Bauer and his wife Gertrude returned to his family then living in Devils Lake, North Dakota. There Fred’s father Charles was working as tinsmith in a hardware store. The family home was located on 12th street and consisted of Charles and his wife Amelia, with Robert and Gertrude, and Fred’s siblings, Elizabeth, Robert, John and Joseph, Stella, Marie, Cecelia, Charlott, and youngest brother Donald. Fred at the time had taken a job working as a machinist at the local railroad shop in Devils Lake.

About 1922 while living in Devils Lake, N. D. Fred and Gertrude began their family by the birth of a son they named Fred, Jr. After some Sometime about 1926 Fred and Gertrude were able to move out of his parents’ home on 12th Street and start their lives on their own. They had moved away from Devils Lake, N. D. and had settled in Louisville, Kentucky. This move was likely in search of work as when they moved to Louisville Fred found work as a sheet metal worker in a kitchen equipment manufacturer in Louisville. The home was located on South Second Street and they rented this home at $50 per month rent.

Sometime during the summer of 1926 shortly after they arrived in Louisville a second son was born they named Charles in honor of Fred’s father. Living along with them in the home was Fred’s brother John and wife Blanche and their daughter Elizabeth. John was a radio service man.

Fred and Gertrude in the spring of 1940, were still in the home on South 12th Street in Louisville with sons Fred, Jr., and Charles. Fred’s brother John and family were no longer living with them but now another of Fred’s brother, Joseph was living with them. By 1942 the Bauer home was located at 4805 S. 5th Street in Louisville. Fred at the time had taken a war-time job working at the Louisville Naval Ordnance Plant on 3rd Street working for the Westinghouse Electric Manufacturing Company.

When Fred at the age of 46-years old, registered for the draft during WWII he was described as being 5-feet 7-inches tall and weighed 196-pounds, with blue eyes and brown hair.

Fred Anthony Bauer would live the rest of his life in Louisville, Kentucky until his death on October 3, 1977 at the age of 82-years.


Second Battalion, Battery C and Battery D

Private Eugene Bernard Ross

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

1st Lt. Robert Mochrie, Battery Commander, Battery C

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. Robert’s 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 Emily’s 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 officers’ as prisoner. On November 10, 1918 Mochrie’s Battery was in action and was overran by the Hun’s 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 Mochrie’s 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. RKO’s 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.

Captain Russell A. Babcock, Battery Commander, Battery D

Russell Abbott Babcock was born on July 26, 1879 in Providence, Rhode Island to Emily Eddy Smith (1846-1921) and George Henry Babcock (1847-1921). At the time of Russell’s birth, the Babcock family home was located at 53 Wilson Street in a two-story Duplex house. He had one younger brother named Henry Lyman Babcock (1888-1947) and a younger sister named Ethel J. born in 1889.

In the summer of 1900 when Russell Babcock was 21-years old he was living with his parents and younger brother Harry at 140 Hanover Street in Providence. Hanover Street is a street filled with duplex two-story homes and the Babcock family likely had the ground floor of their duplex. Both Russell and his father George worked as bookkeepers and may have worked for the same place. It appears that Russell’s sister Ethel who had been born in 1889 passed away as on the 1900 Census form she is not listed in the home and on the form under the section “number of children living” two are listed. So, this seems to indicate she had passed away possibly as an infant.

It was on January 27, 1906 in Taunton, Massachusetts that Russell A. Babcock married Ethel Beulah Taylor (b. 1887-). She was then 19-years old and was born in Providence to Mary A. Ward and Davis A. Taylor of 585 Tremont Street. The pastor who married Ethel and Russell was J. A. L. Rich of Taunton, Massachusetts. Ethel and Russell both worked for the AT & T telephone company in Providence and that was where they had met. Ethel was then working as a Telephone Operator and Russell was an electrician for the company.

After they were married they lived with Russell’s parents in the home on Hanover Street and in the Spring of 1910 were still living there. Russell’s father who was 62-years old was still working keeping books, his younger brother Harry was a stock clerk for a wallpaper company, and Russell was still working as an electrician for the telephone company.

In 1915 the Babcock family still lived on Hanover Street and Russell and his wife still worked for the telephone Company. Russell’s younger brother was still at home and was then working as an electrician laying cables possibly for the phone or it could have been power lines.

At about the age of 25 in 1904, Russell Babcock had joined the National Guard. Babcock was serving as a Second Lt. with the Rhode Island, Coast Artillery, National Guard most likely at Fort Adams, Rhode Island. Or it could have been any of the other forts in the Coast Defenses of Narragansetts Bay, such at Fort Getty, Ft. Greble, Ft. Hill, Ft. Philip Kearny or Ft. Wetherill. So, about the time America entered into the war in the spring of 1917, Russell Babcock was brought into full time Active Duty with the United States Army and advanced to the rank of First Lieutenant.

First Lt. Babcock was with the 56th Artillery when they were formed for duty overseas and on March 28, 1918 was one of the six officers in Battery F under the command of Captain James E. Nestor. On the 28th the entire 56th Artillery sailed from New York bound for France aboard the RMS Olympic. They reached Brest, France on April 4 and then made their way by train to Clermont-Ferrand, France where the Field and Staff, Batteries D, E, F, Supply Co. and the Sanitary Detachment arrived about 7 o'clock in the morning on April 9th. The men detrained and marched a short distance to Gribeauval Barracks (French) and were assigned quarters there. Lt. Babcock would most likely have then been assigned to attend the Army Heavy Artillery School at Mailly-le-Camp or the Tractor School at Vincennes, France.

Lieutenant Babcock would have been with the 56th Artillery through the month of July 1918 when at least three officers were transferred from the regiment and Lt. Babcock was likely one of the three officers. That same month there was a major re-organization of the Coast Artillery Corps regiments then in France ordered by the General Headquarters AEF. The regiments of the 30th Brigade i.e. the 51st, 52nd and 53rd Regiments were re-organized into six new regiments which were then numbered as the 42nd, 43rd, 51st, 52nd, 53rd and 81st Artillery Regiments, CAC. But the 2nd Battalion of the 51st Artillery was assigned to the 57th Artillery and in return the 57th Artillery gave its Batteries C and D up to become part of the 43rd Artillery. During this change the 30th Brigade now consisted of the 42nd, 52nd and 53rd Regiments. The 51st and 81st Regiments became part of the 39th Artillery Brigade and were then not part of the Railway Artillery reserve. Shortly thereafter the 81st Regiment became known as the 44th Artillery Regiment, CAC.

At this point Lt. Babcock, who had been transferred out of Battery F, of the 56th Artillery, received a promotion to the rank of Captain and was assigned to be the Battery Commander of Battery D, of the new 44th Artillery, CAC.

Captain Russell A. Babcock would have commanded Battery D throughout the remainder of the war. Battery C and D were located in the area of Belfort in the Alsace, which was a relative “Quiet Sector” where they remained at this front until the middle of August. The Batteries were moved to the Toul Sector and set up positions for the coming St. Mihiel drive. It was not quiet around Toul, things were busy all the time. After the start of the St. Mihiel drive and through the end of the war it was said that the Second Battalion, consisting of Batteries C and D of the 44th Artillery were kept very busy pouring hot steel into the German lines, and may have fired the greatest number of shells of any of the American Heavy Artillery during the war.

After the war, and the 44th had turned in their artillery guns and equipment, Captain Babcock and Battery D made their way to Brest, France to await transportation back home to the States. It was on January 25, 1919 that the British ship SS Cedric, was moored at the pier in Brest. The 44th Artillery was assigned to the Cedric and were to be ready to sail on January 26. Captain Russell A. Babcock boarded the Cedric with his men and officers of Battery D and were assigned to quarters. The other officers under his command were 1st Lt. Benjamin R. Brown, 2nd Lt. Giels A. Clute, and 2nd Lt. James M. Carriger. The officers were each assigned to a stateroom aboard the ship with Captain Babcock assigned to the No. 16 stateroom, 1st Lt. Brown in No. 19; 2nd Lt. Clute in No. 48, and 2nd Lt. Carriger in stateroom No. 42.

The 44th Artillery aboard the Cedric entered New York Harbor on February 5, 1919 and then went to Fort Totten, New York for demobilization. Shortly thereafter the 44th Artillery was kept on active duty status and they were then sent to Camp Jackson, in Columbia, South Carolina for new duty. Captain Babcock stayed with the 44th Artillery throughout the demobilization process and went to Camp Jackson, still in command of Battery C. Captain Babcock was a very well-liked officer, and served his men of Battery C very well.

While on duty with the 44th Artillery, Captain Russell A. Babcock was injured in an accident between a car and a motorcycle with a sidecar in which Captain Babcock was riding in at the time and died on February 2, 1920.

The facts of the wreck that took place on Sunday evening, February 1, 1920 were that Captain Babcock was the OOD, (Officer of the Day), that Sunday. This meant that any emergency that came up he would need to be personally involved in each emergency among other duties. That Sunday evening there was a fire call on the base came in, and that meant he as the OOD would sound the fire siren and go to the place of the fire. Captain Babcock jumped into the motorcycle with a sidecar driven by 23-year old Private David B. McCraken, of Company L, 48th Infantry. As they were racing along on West Jackson Boulevard towards Columbia, to the scene with the fire siren blowing, an accident happened.

A large touring car being driven by 21-year old Dawson Branham, was coming the opposite way. Being that Captain Babcock had his fire siren sounding, all vehicles were to stop, but Branham failed to do so. This resulted in the sidecar of the motorcycle driven by Pvt. McCraken, to hit nearly head-on into the front of the large touring car driven by Branham, which resulted in the fatal injuries to Captain Babcock. The force of the impact broke the Captain’s right leg in three places, and threw him out of the sidecar onto the pavement from which he suffered a severe head trauma. Captain Babcock also suffered from several very deep lacerations. It was said that the Captain was barely conscious at the scene and would have a slim chance of coming out alive.

Captain Babcock was taken to the Camp Jackson base hospital and was unconscious when he arrived. Pvt. McCraken who was the motorcycle driver suffered a broken collar boke and was taken with Captain Babcock from the scene of the accident. Dawson Branham the touring car driver seemed to be just shaken up and was also taken to the camp hospital. Little could be done to help Captain Babcock and he slowly got worse, never regaining consciousness and died late the next evening on Monday February 2, 1920 due to a severe “Concussion of the Brain.”

Dawson Branham who was 21-year old driver of the touring car that was hit by the Motorcycle, was married and his wife Lucy had just given birth to a girl the same week of the accident. Branham worked as a part time auto mechanic and also drove the touring car as a chauffeur for a private family in Columbia.

As soon as Captain Babcock passed on Monday evening the Military Police at Camp Jackson opened an investigation into the accident. Photos of the wreck show that the sidecar of the motor cycle had in fact smashed into the front of the car driven by Branham who was very helpful in figuring out what had taken place. Branham expressed a keen regret for what had happen to Captain Babcock. Lt. Colonel Robert E. Guthrie, CAC, was made head of the board of investigation, which ruled that both parties were partly to blame and did not exercise “reasonable judgement.” The Board stated that if both parties had stopped, as they were required to do, the accident could have been avoided, and that the accident was ruled unavoidable by the Board.

After his death the McCormick Funeral Parlor, of Columbia came and took care of the Captain’s body. In the Knights of Columbus building located on Jackson Circle in Camp Jackson the next evening after his death, many of the officers and enlisted men of the 44th Artillery and the entire base, gathered for a funeral service. The Captain was very popular at Camp Jackson and so, a large crowd gathered to say fare well to a fellow beloved soldier. Lt. Smith of the 44th Artillery was selected to accompany Mrs. Babcock and the body of the Captain back home to Rhode Island.

The 1920 Federal Census had been taken on January 29, 1920, which was just about four days before his death, listed that Captain Babcock was a married officer living and serving at Camp Jackson. And it had only been about two-weeks before his death that Captain Babcock had welcomed his wife home to Camp Jackson where she had just moved from their home at 20 Weston Ave. in Cranston, Rhode Island. Now Mrs. Babcock had the sad duty of taking her husband’s body back home to Cranston. When it was time to leave, Lt. Smith accompanied Mrs. Babcock and the Captain’s body as they took the train north to Rhode Island from South Carolina.

After Captain Babcock’s death he was first buried in the Swan Point Cemetery located along the Seekonk River in Providence, Rhode Island. But on May 22, 1920 his body was removed and reburied in the Prince’s Hill Cemetery which sets along the Barrington River in Barrington, Rhode Island. Here in the Prince’s Hill Cemetery he is buried along with his mother and father and younger brother Harry. For many years Captain Babcock’s grave did not have a military grave stone. It was on June 19 of 1950 that the Rhode Island Division of Soldier’s Welfare ordered a proper military stone for Captain Babcock. On September 22, 1950 from Columbus, Mississippi his military grave stone arrived at the New York, New Haven and Hanover Railroad Depot in Providence. It was placed upon his grave and today marks the spot where an American soldier is resting in peace.

The life of the 44th Artillery ended shortly after the death of Captain Babcock, when the War Department, on July 27, 1921, gave orders that Camp Jackson would be shut down and disbanded. This was also the end for the 44th Artillery, CAC as on August 31, 1921 they were inactivated and the men of the 44th Artillery, CAC were discharged or sent to other units for new duty.


Grave stone of Captain Russell A. Babcock

Third Battalion, Battery E and Battery F

William P. McGahey, 2453961, Private, Battery E, 44th Artillery

Pvt. William P. McGahey, Battery E

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.

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."

This was presented to Pvt. McGahey by the French  

Private Steven Thomas Killian, Battery E

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. Steven’s 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.  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 Baxley’s 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 Killian’s grave stone at Andrew Johnson National Cemetery, Greeneville, Tennessee. Private Steven T. Killian, Battery E, showing 3 Service Chevrons on left sleeve.

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This page was created on 3 October, 2002 and last updated on January 3, 2019
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