Tamworth, is hoping the community will step forward with stories,
photographs, medals, old uniforms and other items pertaining
to World War I.
reaching out now, he hopes that it will afford time over the
winter to research and place the items as part of the exhibit.
wanted to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the United States
entering World War I in April 2017. We wanted to give the local
community a reason to stop and think about the past and its
implications for the future," said Cottrell this week,
adding, that a "round-numbered anniversary" helps
with this, as the historical society did with an opening exhibit
on the town of Conway's 250th in 2015 and the 100th anniversary
of the N.H. Primary in 2016."
global war began in Europe on July 28, 1914, sparked by the
assassination a month earlier in Serbia of Archduke Franz Ferdinand,
the heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Quickly,
through a series of alliances, the fight between Austria-Hungary
and Serbia pulled in most of the countries in Europe, along
with their colonies and other allies around the world. Germany
and the Ottoman Empire joined Austria-Hungary to form the "Central
Powers" fighting against an allied force from France, England,
Russia, Italy and Japan.
United States avoided involvement for more than two years before
declaring war on April 6, 1917, on the side of the Allies.
hundred years is a good vantage point to research, evaluate
and understand. It's a 'Goldilocks' time frame for historians:
not too close, not too far away," said Cottrell. "We
want to put the First World War into the context of what it
meant for Conway and New Hampshire — of how it impacted
also wanted to follow up with the cemetery work/booklet done,
and document and interpret the many veteran memorials around
town. Around town there is a landscape of memory, but we have
forgotten the meaning of many of those monuments and memorials
and in some cases, have even forgotten the location of some
of them. Folks drive by these memorials without even knowing
they are there. We want to make them easier to find and easier
said that Conway Historical Society member and Conway 250th
co-chair Brian Wiggin and several others have offered to loan
their collections of World War I posters, sheet music from the
era and other items.
know we have something valuable and interesting to build upon,
and we are looking to add more with the help of the community,"
- - Brian Wiggin
project is to find out as much as is possible about the 49 names
of those who served in the First World War, as depicted on the
veterans memorial located on the front lawn outside of Conway
reads, "Conway Honor Roll Tribute to Those who Served in
the 1917 — World War — 1919."
the plaque are such names as Hounsell, Knox, Lowd, Morrill,
Moulton, Smith, Towle, Twombly, Whitaker and Wiggin, to name
Blanche Duffy seems to be the only woman on the monument (the
gender of some names are hard to tell and further research is
needed). To follow her story, we used the super powered library
edition of Ancestry Plus and found her marriage record, indicating
she was a nurse," said Cottrell.
knows there will be some great stories to share.
hoping that people will review the photos we're posting of the
plaque, or they will stop by to take a look and tell us if they
are related to them and what they know," said Cottrell.
would love to make copies of any photos you have and learn about
stories you can relate," notes Cottrell. "We also
are looking for volunteers to help research the names through
our Conway Library subscription to genealogy databases and files
said the library's Henney History Room has access to World War
I draft registration cards. From this card he said they can
learn about a man whose name appears on the plaque, McCarthy
Bobbins. "We know that he was born in, and was still a
citizen of, Russia. He was a laborer at the Conway Lumber Company.
He was single, of medium height and stout build," said
Cottrell. "It appears he was illiterate as he made his
mark with an 'X' and had the registrar witness it."
said he has also undertaken research by going through the archives
of newspapers and other sources.
as he related, there is not much local history recorded that
he has been able to locate as of yet.
much that I can tell has been summarized, say unlike a number
of books, etc., that covered the Civil War, such as local historian
Bill Marvel's book on Conway and the Civil War, 'The Neighbors'
War.' In a way, World War I has become one of those forgotten
wars," said Cottrell, who is a frequent New Hampshire Humanities
program speaker on a variety of historical topics, including
on the Chinook kennels. "My main source so far has been
(the now defunct) Reporter newspaper.
month, I have been reading the paper from 100 years ago and
tracking the way the war was reported and what was going on
in Conway," Cottrell said. "As we get into the research
over this winter, we are really hoping to see World War I-era
information, stories, photos and artifacts to 'come out of the
woodwork' from folks in Conway."
are asking the entire community to help us with the history
of all those names on all those monuments and memorials, in
an attempt to fill in the blanks and, if possible, show the
faces of those who served," Cottrell said.
his online blogspot, www.mwvhistory.com, Cottrell has posted
some of his research concerning those Reporter articles from
Conway's residents received little actual news about the war
raging in Europe, the Reporter's May 4, 1916, editorial page
opined on President Woodrow Wilson's diplomatic efforts to avoid
war with Germany," Cottrell noted in his blog.
added that "Germany had been sinking ships and, according
to the paper, Wilson was writing 'yet another note' to complain
and ask them to stop. The writer commented ironically and dramatically
that Wilson 'gave Germany four days to make a reply, and he
said he really meant it. But the Kaiser didn't believe it and
has taken his time.'"
implication is that Wilson's efforts were useless," writes
Cottrell. "The editor concludes sarcastically that, it
is 'Pretty near time Wilson was writing another note,' suggesting
that Wilson will continue doing paperwork while Germany destroys
ships and kills people.
inaction (other than writing complaint letters) is contrasted
in a paragraph below on England's problems with the Irish insurrection
on the home front, the surrender of 10,000 troops in Turkey,
the loss of a battleship and 25,000 men (wonder why the battleship
takes priority over the loss of life?). In any case, the 'indomitable
spirit' of Britain in the form of 'Johnny Bull' is contrasted
sharply with Wilson's lack of effective action."
to the domino effects that led to the start of the war, Cottrell
sidestepped the question, saying the focus of this exhibit will
be on local impacts of the war.
(concerning what led to the start of the war) is sort of beyond
the scope of our project, we are interested in how those larger,
far away, events impacted people in Conway," he said.
War I was one of the deadliest conflicts in history, introducing
a stalemate of trench warfare and technological advances, from
machine guns, tanks and airplanes to flame throwers and poison
gas. According to Wikipedia, more than 70 million military personnel,
including 60 million Europeans, were mobilized, and over 9 million
combatants and 7 million civilians died as a result of the war.
the end, the war redrew the map of the globe, paving the way
for revolutions, new nations, transfers of colonies, economic
collapse and the League of Nations (precursor to the United
Nations), and setting the stage for an even greater world war
to follow 20 years later. Arguably, its effects are still being
a personal note, this reporter visited the Conway Public Library's
Henney Room to work with Cottrell on researching the military
service in World War I of my late Great Uncle Frederick Moore,
who was born in Newport, N.H., in 1877 and who served with General
John J. Pershing before moving on to a career as a journalist
and author of such books as "Siberia Today," published
in 1919. It was a fascinating exercise, using such online resources
had always grown up hearing about my great uncle, who was my
father's mother's brother who, according to family lore, ran
away from home in Enfield at age 16, and lived a full and adventurous
life. He is said to have served as an intelligence officer and
may even have been a spy. We will have to continue that research,
but it just shows you how rich the stories are that are waiting
to be researched and told as part of the Conway Historical Society's
thanks to Tom Eastman . . .
This article was written
by Tom Eastman, and used with permission.
The Conway Daily Sun issue - Saturday, November 12, 2016